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Jessica McCormack

By Verity Douglas

“Jewellery is one of the art forms we hold closest to our hearts,” believes Jessica McCormack, whose distinctive diamonds are designed with ‘wearability’ in mind. Worlds away from some of the more generic jewels on offer, McCormack’s collections fuse elegance with edge, elevating diamonds from their lowly ‘special occasion’ status. Sitting just as beautifully against jeans and a t-shirt as evening gowns and extravagance, McCormack’s pieces are created to spend their lives with you, rather than hidden in the bottom of a scarcely opened safety deposit box.

Each “miniature sculpture” blends antiquity with modernity in a dazzlingly and dynamic way. With influences that span both centuries and continents, from Greek Mythology to the ever changing New York skyline, McCormack successfully unites the seemingly incompatible.

Raised by an antique dealer, McCormack has confessed to a “possession obsession”, fuelled by her lifelong exposure to some of “the most important antique and period jewels in the world.” Yet her passion stems not purely from an appreciation of their beauty but also their timelessness, a quality which she seeks to imbue in her own work. With no formal training, McCormack is “brave and unexpected” taking jewellery into previously unchartered territory. Free from the rules of ‘how something should be done’ she has the scope to be reckless and inventive, channelling her interests to create pieces that people “covet, desire, wear, love” and ultimately, use. So, if you’re feeling jaded by trend-led trinkets that are more ‘one-hit wonder’ than future heirloom, then Jessica McCormack’s studio in Clerkenwell should be the number one destination for any savvy ‘sartorialist’.

While you won’t be confronted with a cynical doorman and row upon row of ‘look but don’t touch’ display cases, you certainly won’t be met with disappointment. Bedecked with an eclectic assortment of commodities both old and new, the shop resembles a magpie’s haven with diamonds dripping from the various curios McCormack has collected over the years. Banksy originals hang alongside contemporary artworks by artists from her native New Zealand, which co-exist strikingly with antique dressers and monkey skulls. Embodying McCormack’s flair for juxtaposition, the salon is daring and exciting, subverting the all too common perception that jewellery should be ‘unattainable.’ Like “France circa Marie Antoinette meets Andy Warhol’s factory” the salon is a true reflection of McCormack’s ethos, that luxury should be measured in emotional and not monetary terms.

Which is why anyone looking to dispel the imminent winter woes, should make an appointment to “play” amidst McCormack’s personal treasure trove and hopefully walk away with a tiny treasure of their own. Jessica and her team are on hand to cater to your wildest demands, from reincarnating your grandmother’s diamonds to creating a ‘heritage piece’ that will delight for decades. Go ahead and wear your art on your sleeve.

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