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Stoned!

It’s not often you walk into a gallery and are completely floored by the show. But yesterday, visitors to InToto Gallery in Birdhaven were given something serious to flap about. London-based jewellery designer Jessica McCormack flew out for a one-night show of her bespoke, custom-made pieces. Her new range is themed around the seven deadly sins and seven virtues, and accordingly, Otto de Jager Events transformed the gallery into a decadent den of vice and virtue. Diamonds dripped off taxidermied swans and ducks, bleeding apples, raw fish, dried plants, leather boots and a gaggle of other unconventional display items. But the jewels, were, of course the star of the show. Jessica’s original style is perhaps a result of her never having studied jewellery design. The New Zealander moved to London five years ago to do an internship at Sotheby’s, and fell into her current trade quite unexpectedly. ‘As my father owns an auction house, I wanted to learn about the auction process,’ she told HL, ‘but during my three months at Sotheby’s I was exposed to jewellery I never even dreamed I’d see, like the Russian crown jewels and original Cartiers.’ Her interest piqued, Jessica ignored the fact that she had no formal training and began to dabble in design. The results are spectacular, with diamonds set in brass, reverse set diamonds and other antique-inspired designs that are remarkable in both their originality and craftsmanship.  Five years later she has professional workshops to set her pieces, but the designs, which are done on a private client basis, are still uniquely Jessica’s.   The show will be repeated in Cape Town at Merchants on Long (34 Long Street) at 6pm on Thursday 17 November.   jessicamccormack.com intotogallery.co.za merchantsonlong.com   Text: Roberta Coci Images: Carien Els