Personalities

Meet Nichole McIver of Acanthus and Her Darkly Romantic Jewelry Aesthetic

Sacred Heart pendant necklace in 14k yellow gold with a heart-shape opal and diamond-accented flames, $1,045; available online at Acanthus Jewelry

New York City. April 14, 2020. Sentimental themes from art history, Victorian mourning jewelry, and historic symbolism combine in Nichole McIver’s Acanthus jewelry collection.

Based in St. Cloud, Minn., and armed with a bachelor’s degree in two-dimensional art and a master’s degree in art history, McIver fell in love with the idea of making jewelry while working in a gallery that sold it.

“Jewelry seemed like an interesting way to combine creativity with business,” she says.

So she started making wire-wrapped styles, and as her metalsmithing skills grew, so, too, did her line; she debuted Acanthus in 2010. As the sole artisan behind the jewels—“Everything passes through my hands,” she says—she sometimes uses original antique elements in pieces while also reinterpreting historic ideas in modern ways. McIver fabricates and casts largely two-tone (oxidized silver and 14k and 24k gold) jewels featuring skulls, snakes, vines, moths, sacred hearts, lunar phases of the moon, and more symbols in über wearable looks ideal for layering. Nearly everything in her collection is made from scratch in her studio, save for the occasional chain and clasp.

Gemstone faves include moonstone, quartz, and black and colorless diamonds.

“Moonstone is probably my most popular stone,” she adds. “Moonstones have incredible personality and flashes of color, while still feeling like a neutral-color stone.”

Find her work in her own e-shop and also at December Thieves in Boston and Liberty in London. Retail prices start under $200.

Secret Garden stud earrings in oxidized silver with hand-applied 24k gold, $187; available online at Acanthus Jewelry

Secret Garden stud earrings in oxidized silver with hand-applied 24k gold, $187; available online at Acanthus Jewelry

Laurel Skull cuff in oxidized silver with hand-applied 24k gold, $675; available online at Acanthus Jewelry

Laurel Skull cuff in oxidized silver with hand-applied 24k gold, $675; available online at Acanthus Jewelry

Sacred Heart pendant necklace in 14k yellow gold with a heart-shape opal and diamond-accented flames, $1,045; available online at Acanthus Jewelry

Sacred Heart pendant necklace in 14k yellow gold with a heart-shape opal and diamond-accented flames, $1,045; available online at Acanthus Jewelry

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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  • Meet Nichole McIver of Acanthus and Her Darkly Romantic Jewelry Aesthetic

    New York City. April 14, 2020. Sentimental themes from art history, Victorian mourning jewelry, and historic symbolism combine in Nichole McIver’s ...
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