Judi McCormick started her jewelry design business in 2001, debuting a signature style around modern jewelry with classical beginnings. “I love to use a bit of whimsy without being ridiculous,” says the force behind the eponymous firm. She comes to jewelry from a high-end sweater company that used a knit/woven fabric she invented. At some point, an epiphany that gemstones would be fabulous buttons pointed her toward jewelry. She studied at GIA and at Metalwerx in Boston, also taking the CPAA’s Pearls As One course. Today she makes karat gold styles featuring South Sea, Tahitian, and Fijian pearls, many inset with colored stones. “I call these pearls Constellations for the star-like quality of the sparkle and placement of the gems,” she says. Retail prices for her work start at $295.
You have a special clasp system. Tell us about it.
I see clasps as an integral part of the jewelry design. I have recently created my own Pearl Gemstone Clasp that is patent pending. I set large South Sea and Tahitian pearls with gemstones and an internal screw system. I am delighted with the infinite possibilities of using these clasps on my jewelry.
What is your best pearl memory?
My best pearl memory was when I bought my first pair of Tahitian pearl stud earrings on a trip to Hawaii. I still remember the feeling I had when I put them on. They were 10 mm in size and silver in color and I just had a gut reaction to them. It was love at first sight—it was magical.
Who is/was your pearl mentor?
There are so many pearl icons that have been part of my life and development, but I have to credit the generous pearl spirit of Jeremy Shepard. With Pearl-Guide, he created a community of pearl enthusiasts that all shared information and the joy of pearls. He has also introduced me to significant players in the pearl world and has been unconditionally open with source information.
What pearl was the hardest for you to sell?
Around 2014, I was able to get a strand of Kasumi pearls from Pacific Pearls. The colors were bronze, lavender, peach, and other yummy colors that make you feel like you’re basking in the sun. Kasumi pearls are so unique in their appearance that people needed to hear the story of the small and limited number of pearl farms on Lake Kasumigaura in Japan, how hard the farmers work to produce them, and how they differ from Chinese freshwaters. It was heartwarming to see the light in the eyes of my client who saw the beauty of these pearls.
Does anyone famous own your pearls?
Janet Irving—John Irving’s wife—and the playwright Teresa Rebeck. However, there are also a few infamous individuals who shall remain nameless. Ha!
Type of pearl?
Fijian pearls. The colors are among the most dazzling I have ever seen.
Courses! Studio photography, marketing, coaching, and jewelry-specific webinars have been my sanity.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee from Monteverde Costa Rica.
That would be exotic pearl farms in the South Seas near little-known beaches.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs (and many of them).
Wine or whiskey?
Ocean or lake?
Ocean. I love saltwater.
Party or party of two?
Depends on the people. Right now, I’m hungry for interesting people.