Fashion — Engagement Rings & Jewelry
Engagement Jewels Reimagined – The Artful World of UK Designer Jessica McCormack
Iconic UK designer Jessica McCormack invites us into her sprawling Mayfair Townhouse – a collision of art, architecture and design that reimagines the engagement ring shopping experience for modern couples.
In the UK, Jessica McCormack is a name that evokes far more than fine jewelry. She has a style that transcends aesthetics – deeply inspired by a worldly fusion of influences and her New Zealand upbringing, surrounded by antiques and curiosities as an auctioneer’s daughter. Grounded in old world technique but reimagined through a lens of contemporary art, Jessica McCormack’s inimitable style is one that imprints deeply, stirring a long list of hearts that include the Duchess of Sussex, Victoria Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Zoe Kravitz and devoted clients around the world.
Creating artful heirlooms for modern couples, Jessica McCormack jewels spill with story and sentiment, fusing traditional settings with opulently mixed metals or unexpected blackened gold finishes. Designed and handcrafted by artisans in her 5-Story Mayfair Townhouse, Jessica McCormack has created a transportive space that breathes new life into engagement ring shopping. Akin to a modern gallery, stepping inside this sprawling residence is an elixir for the senses where opulent jewels are artfully displayed on hand-carved plinths, collections are viewed via silk-draped lounges, an open fireplace and secret garden vistas with the ambience of a self-playing piano.
Couples are invited to co-create their dream engagement ring with Jessica via a grand library, personally curated and overflowing with antiquated books and curiosities from far-reaching ends of the earth, stirring inspiration for every bespoke story. In between opening her new flagship, dreaming up collections and being a busy mom of three, Jessica McCormack shares a little insight into her world…
“I’m obsessed with the idea of collecting, and that’s definitely something inherited from my father. Also, an appreciation of how much beauty the past holds. The understanding that something crafted centuries ago, can still hold beauty and demonstrate perfect technique, has informed so much of my work.”
Tell us about the moment, or series of moments that lead you to design jewelry?
I moved to London in my mid-twenties for an internship at Sotheby’s, where I was surrounded by the most beautiful things. I loved jewellery already – but Sotheby’s is where I got to see Russian crown jewels and 1920’s Cartier up close, and that ignited something in me.
How has your background in New Zealand and being surrounded by art and antiques shaped your jewelry aesthetic?
I’m obsessed with the idea of collecting, and that’s definitely something inherited from my father. Also, an appreciation of how much beauty the past holds. The understanding that something crafted centuries ago, can still hold beauty and demonstrate perfect technique, has informed so much of my work.
Where do you start in the process of dreaming up a bespoke engagement ring design for a couple?
There are many different routes you can go down with engagement rings. Sometimes someone will walk in here off the street, and their perfect ring is waiting in a cabinet. Sometimes a client wants something a little different, or a design that already exists but tweaked a little so that it’s unique to them. With a bespoke commission like that, we sit together and chat – that’s always the start of a relationship here, we talk, we listen, we understand that each situation is different. People are working to their own timeframes, their own budgets – and we’re here to create something beautiful with them, without pressure.
What types of engagement ring designs do you see couples gravitating toward these days?
Last year we opened a dedicated space on the second floor of our Townhouse, for everything Bridal and beyond, and along with it we launched a collection of new engagement rings. A style that sold immediately was our Tilted Pear. A pear-shaped diamond but set on a tilt. In my opinion it’s the perfect ring.
Advice for the traditionalists wanting to select a surprise engagement ring for their partner?
Really think about your partner’s style. Don’t make decisions based on what you think, base them on what you know. How do they like to dress, what makes them happy, what makes their eyes light-up. Concentrate on those things. Also – try not to get bogged down with the stats around a stone, treat the process intuitively, and choose something that resonates with you.
You’re renowned for your signature Button Back setting, what do you love about this style?
There’s something easy about it and creating diamond jewellery that has a sense of ease is my focus. I want my clients to wear these pieces all day every day, to forget to take them off they’re that comfortable. A Button Back Setting helps with that, it helps jewellery to sit right on your skin, to feel tactile and really wearable.
We love the gallery-like space you’ve created at 7 Carlos Place that completely reimagines the jewelry shopping experience, what were you inspired to create when designing the bridal floor?
I wanted to create a space that felt relaxed, that was my priority. I want someone to be able to wander in and feel like they can look around without pressure. I wanted it to feel calm, like an escape from the hustle and bustle of central London. Just like the rest of the Townhouse, we’ve filled the walls with amazing contemporary artwork, each piece in some way reflecting romance, and love, and warmth and human connection – it’s a reminder of what’s important.
For those who can’t experience the London boutique in person, where can they purchase a Jessica McCormack piece?
We’re online at www.jessicamccormack.com !
What music plays on repeat in your workspace while designing?
Oh god I’m embarrassed to say! My Spotify is the most random mix of songs – from things to keep my kids quiet in the car, to Fleetwood Mac, to Prince, and a little bit of Justin Biebs.
A piece of advice, or quote that deeply resonates with you?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you’re not going to be worrying about it in 5 months’ time, don’t spend 5 minutes worrying about it now.
Explore the Jessica McCormack collection in person at the Mayfair Townhouse or via the Jessica McCormack website
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