Diamonds and antiques go hand in hand for London-based jeweler Jessica McCormack, who is known for her vintage-inspired creations with a contemporary edge. Her 19th-century townhouse features not only a workshop and design studio but also a gallery brimming with contemporary art (including two works by her biggest influence, Louise Bourgeois). “It feels more like a home than a store,” says the designer. “It’s an ever-evolving space.”
Beginnings: The New Zealand native grew up around antiques at her father’s auction business in Christchurch. An internship in Sotheby’s jewelry department exposed her to Russian crown jewels, rare Lalique, and 1920s Cartier. “I had never seen jewelry like it,” says McCormack. “I was naïve and so passionately mesmerized.” She later went to work for a diamantaire; almost 12 years later, he’s now one of her business partners.
Design ethos: “I believe wholeheartedly in the idea of a jewelry wardrobe. Rarely should jewels for saved for black-tie. So much of what I design is reimagining clients’ existing pieces so they can have a new life.”
Inspirations: The history and ecology of her native New Zealand, contemporary art, midcentury architecture, old books, or vintage advertising. “My father, who was an auctioneer, taught me to seek out and celebrate forgotten eras or creations that are often overlooked,” McCormack says.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2020 Spring Issue under the headline Creative Minds. Subscribe to the magazine.