“I often see some of the world’s most beautiful jewellery just at family dinners. My mother and grandmother have exceptional collections,” says Rachel Slack, the great granddaughter of Ernest Oppenheimer. While her family is no longer the managing shareholder of De Beers, having sold its stake to Anglo American, Slack is carrying the Oppenheimer legacy into the future with diamonds as her guiding light.
“I’ve grown up with diamonds and talk of diamonds. I was brought up to have a love and reverence for these mysterious stones. It’s about values and timelessness. But above all, diamonds represent love,” says Slack, the business partner of Jessica Mccormack, jewellery designer to the stars (Rihanna was her first customer and Madonna is a fan).
“I met Jessica in 2006 when I commissioned her to design a pair of diamond earrings using millennium diamonds given to me by my grandfather, Harry,” says Slack. The stones were from De Beers’ Millennium Collection, released in 1999 for the arrival of the new millennium. Mccormack was working at the time from a tiny studio at London’s Hatton Garden diamond market. “It was charming and littered with sketches of diamond earrings, diamond hair pieces, diamond necklaces,” remembers Slack. “It was heaven. We both immediately discovered that we shared a great passion for diamonds.”
Four years later Slack joined Mccormack as her business partner. Their company operates like a small family firm, with wealthy collectors commissioning bespoke pieces. “We have purposely grown slowly and steadily over the last few years. To us it is all about quality, not quantity,” says Slack. “We are in this business for the long term.” The Jessica Mccormack salon, which opened in London in 2013, is the only place their jewellery is sold.