NIKKI SIMKINS:

Private jeweler. All in the family: Diamonds are more than this girl’s best friend—they are a part of her DNA. “Jewelry is in my blood. My entire family is in the business. We’re fifth generation,” says Simkins of her inherited career. “I expanded the retail part of our company and sell privately to customers.” Her keen eye for design attracts clients ranging from starlets to singers to socialites, such as Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Loren and J.R. Ridinger and Linda and Barry Gibb. Out with the old, in with the new: “When I design, it’s mainly updating people’s jewelry—they want a new, fresh idea. Say it’s an engagement ring. I’ll redesign it by upgrading the stone or redoing the mounting.” Balancing it all: Simkins may be a designer with a pedigree in gemology, but she’s quick to point out, “I’m a mom first, but I do this because it’s social and very fun.” Not to mention very glamorous. —Tish Johnson Cook

JUST THE FACTS: 

What celebrity would you love to have wearing your jewels? Michelle Obama

What do you hope to accomplish in 2010? I would like to get more women to realize that jewelry is a much better investment than shoes and purses.

What is your personal definition of luxury? Going to Aspen in the summer with my family.

What designer most inspires you? Tom Ford for his timeless elegance and Roberto Cavalli for his innovative use of colors.

Where would you most like to live if you had the chance to pack up and go? Italy.

 

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