Having grown up surrounded by nature in New Zealand, Jessica McCormack set out for London in her mid-twenties to intern in Sotheby’s fine jewellery department. From 1920s Cartier to Lalique, it was here she had her first encounter with exceptional fine jewellery and antiques close up.
While she is inspired by jewellery designs of the past, particularly from the Victorian and Georgian eras, she creates pieces that have relevance to modern, contemporary women. She has a dedicated in-house team of six craftsmen who manufacture each piece of jewellery in the atelier located at Carlos Place, Mayfair, and customers are welcome to visit the workshop to experience the creation process – seeing how the jewellery is made, how long it takes and how many hands a piece passes through.
Whether a piece costs £1,000 or £100,000, each item receives the same level of meticulous craftsmanship. Know-how often gets lost between generations, so McCormack is focused on training her team to preserve and retain the traditional techniques of previous craftspeople.
Another element of her work is her love of collecting and buying anything that’s old, particularly mine-cut cushion diamonds. They may not always be perfectly cut or have the ideal colour, but in an age where many people own the same designer pieces, she prefers to offer truly individually designed piece suitable to wear from day to night.
Her latest collection, Moonshine, is an ode to the demi-lune or half-moon-cut diamond, comprising six pieces ranging from minimalist studs to statement chandelier earrings. Adding a playful twist to lunar calendars of old, the collection repeats the half-moon cut in sinuous lines or flips it to mirror itself.
Taking clients from the school run and the gym to a board meeting and dinner with clients, McCormack designs her jewellery to be as fitting in a corporate environment as it is at a party or at home. ‘Designing jewellery that is relevant and wearable for women today is my objective,’ she says. ‘My whole philosophy is to create contemporary yet timeless pieces, designed to be passed down through the generations. This is at the very core of what I do.’