Six Questions for Alexandra Mor
The New York jewelry designer stopped by Dorfman Jewelers last week.
Dorfman’s new bridal collection features pieces from noted New York jewelry designer Alexandra Mor. She offers both a limited-edition signature line and one-of-a-kind baubles (often commissioned by clients). Mor visited the Newbury Street store last week and answered a few questions for Bostonista:
Bostonista: How did you get into jewelry design?
Alexandra Mor: I went to film school. I was a production manger for years before I came to New York and became a jewelry designer. Before I went to film school I created a portfolio made up of 20 collections so that I could get into Shenkar, a prestigious design school in Israel where I wanted to study fashion. I was accepted but was too inundated with production work and decided to go to film school instead. My love for design never wavered though, my creative soul was eventually exposed to jewelry-making after learning about diamonds and the jewelry world through my husband. When I got the bug, I took classes for jewelry bench making, precious stone and diamond classes, designing and rendering, and spent countless hours with master jewelers as I was designing my first signature collection. For me, it works the same way as approaching clothes design. The difference is that the details are more intricate. I’d love to deliver jewelry that had the intimacy of fabric. The color and sensuality a fabric can deliver. I love to combine old-world craftsmanship with contemporary styles and techniques. By and large, it came from my background at home, along with a strong love for design, fashion, proportions, art and aesthetics.
B: What inspires you?
AM: I love going to work. It’s my passion. It’s about relationships, creativity, and giving. A jewel has it all and I’m inspired by it all. And I’m inspired by women, too. Passionate women who are in touch with their femininity and vulnerability and who aren’t afraid to show either. That takes courage. And I think authenticity is such a wonderful and beautiful attribute. It takes a lot to just be yourself and that inspires me. My incredible family. My husband and three children. I cherish poetry and love walking alone in modern art museums anywhere I travel. Fashion. Architecture. Diamonds. Anything that has a story to tell inspires me.
Read on for more answers from Alexandra Mor…
B: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
AM: I believe in the beauty of things that are imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Japanese aesthetics have always fascinated me and it’s fascinating to learn that the perfection you find in their aesthetic world is born of a philosophy that suggests approaching beauty as imperfect and incomplete. It’s a concept derived from eastern practice like Buddhism, which practices the notion of emptiness and absence of self. Or, like in kabala, the nothingness. I find it similar to my design work process. I’m always drawn to the empty spaces, the white spaces. It’s an important element of design, which allows an object to exist. It forms the balance between positive, which is what we see, and the use of negative spaces (the so-called white space). It’s quite simply the key to any aesthetic composition. And it intrigues me. My aesthetic revolves around simplicity, symmetry and relationship between the stone, the personality of the client, and my intuition — this will eventually lead to the design and help bring out the true nature of an object. I also find it very similar to my work process with natural stones; finding inspiration for a design and basing its form directly on the stones I find. Even though I don’t design “nature,’ per se, nature and the concept of staying true to the origin and language of a rock is an approach at the core of my work. For me, it’s a way of life.
B: Who are your favorite contemporary designers?
AM: I admire Valentino for his passion and commitment to perfection and Philippe Starck for his ability to bring his designs to life with a sense of humor. Even people who aren’t moved by design can’t help but feel something by his pieces. He brings art into life’s everyday products and sets the bar. But Coco Channel is my first love. She was a true pioneer, a designer of the heart, defining anew what woman were “allowed” to wear, while letting them feel and still look feminine. The new figure and design concept she brought to the world was remarkable. I admire her not only for her design vision, but for being someone who dared to reinvent, be herself, and throw caution to the wind.
B: What is your everyday jewelry uniform? Do you have hoops, rings, or necklaces that you never take off?
AM: My diamond engagement ring, my wide Asscher-cut diamond eternity band, a pair of round diamond studs with my signature jackets, and my long diamond sautoir necklace. I don’t leave the house without them.
B: Is it important to you that all your pieces are made in America?
AM: There are so many skilled and talented craftsmen here in the U.S., and we are lucky enough to work with the best. All my pieces require a tremendous amount of back-and-forth collaboration with my craftsmen. From the moment a design is finalized, up until its final polish is complete, I am very involved in every step of the creation process. I insist that quality control and design must be overseen in person and so I need to have my craftsmen close by.
Here are two of Mor’s jewelry designs: