Minnesota Made

Patrick Nelson and Mary Kay Mohs create jewelry inspired by the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Under UV light, the diamonds in the Night Sky necklace glow, just like the constellations they depict.

Patrick Nelson and Mary Kay Mohs are not only husband and wife but business partners and artistic collaborators, too. Together, they created Patrick Mohs Jewelry, a collection of stunning and unique pieces inspired by the couple’s love of precious metals, gemstones and nature. Nelson and Mohs think of each piece as its own wearable work of art, and they bring each one to life at their home studio by Gray’s Bay.

Ever since childhood, Nelson and Mohs have been fascinated by jewels and gems. Nelson’s mother owned a jewelry store, and he remembers spending hours alongside her, learning what it took to work in the jewelry industry. “That really lit the fire for the passion of designing and creating pieces,” he says.

Mohs’s passion for jewelry was also sparked by her mother, whose jewelry box was a source of intrigue. “She had such beautiful jewelry, and always had an eye for design,” Mohs says.

Their love of fine jewelry took both Nelson and Mohs from Minnesota to Carlsbad, Calif., to study at the Gemological Institute of America, although they never crossed paths as students. When they met several years later while working in the jewelry industry, they were struck by how much they had in common—a deep love of gemstones, an eye for design and the same alma mater. From there, Patrick Mohs Jewelry was born.

“Everything we do, we couldn’t do without the other,” Nelson says. “There are many pieces that I’ve wanted to make, and likewise for Mary Kay, but the other has said, ‘No, that’s not us.’ Mary Kay often redirects me more than I redirect her.”

Many of their ideas are drawn from nature. Living in the land of lakes gives Nelson and Mohs an endless source of inspiration. In fact, all their pieces incorporate a wave of some sort. “That’s a huge theme in our designs—it’s one of our signatures,” Mohs says.

One standout piece is their Night Sky necklace, inspired by a family trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior. They collected skipping stones by day and gazed up at the stars at night. The necklace has 18-karat yellow-gold “skipping stones” set with diamonds in the shapes of various constellations—all 12 of the zodiac signs and a few of Nelson and Mohs’s other favorites.

“When we make jewelry, we think about it as art, and we really put everything into it,” Nelson says. They were meticulous when it came to choosing diamonds, which are always sourced with ethics and the environment in mind. The diamonds in the Night Sky necklace are all to scale of the actual constellations and fluorescent, which gives the necklace a special surprise: under UV light, they glow—just like the stars. Earlier this year, the necklace won a Vision Award from the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America in recognition of Nelson and Mohs’s craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind design.
For now, the two are certainly staying busy. Between custom orders, they’re focusing on extending the skipping stone collection and launching a new one centered on colorful gemstones. They say that the Lake Minnetonka area, due to its beautiful setting and support for the arts, is an ideal place to make art. “It’s been really fun having our home studio here,” says Mohs. “We’re really inspired by the area—the water, the lake, the seasons.”