Alexandra Mor takes a bespoke approach to jewelry.
By Laurie Kahle, February 15, 2012
At a spring 2010 auction preview at Phillips de Pury in New York, a staff member approached Alexandra Mor and inquired about the jewelry she was wearing. When the elegant, raven-haired Mor replied that she had designed the pieces herself, the woman offered to introduce her to Nazgol Jahan, the auction house’s worldwide jewelry director. Suitably impressed, Nazgol featured her designs at a December 2010 auction. Jahan reaffirmed her support by selecting five pieces from Mor’s Signature collection for another auction last December. “Phillips de Pury gave me the confidence and boost to introduce the brand to a bigger audience,” says Mor, who has been designing and producing jewelry for private clients for five years. “Everything happened organically.” Her collection is now available at 1stdibs.com, and she continues to work with private clients on custom commissions.
Such serendipity was not a new experience for Mor, who met her husband, Alon, a few months before she was to graduate from film school in New York. Mor had planned to return to her career as a production manager in Israel, where she had grown up in a family of French-born dressmakers. But those plans soon changed. Alon, who owns his family’s wholesale diamond business in New York, introduced her to the jewelry industry. She joined him on a buying trip and became fascinated by the beauty of gems. Rather than take the easy path in launching a jewelry business that naturally would draw on the resources of her husband’s company, she immersed herself in study. “I took a number of jewelry classes over a few years, which really helped me to bring out the most from the precious metals I was working with and to develop an ‘inside out’ perspective to my designs.” she explains. “It took me years to come up with the designs of my signature details—my Signature collection’s concept.”
Her collection of limited edition and unique pieces features bold, contemporary cocktail rings and earrings with jackets—an adaptable concept she especially appreciates as a working mother of three. She is also known for thick, diamond-set bands that are made to order and engraved with names or expressions of love. As the collection evolves, she has grown more daring, incorporating knife-edge detailing in her designs. “Each of my pieces have elements of 18-karat yellow gold,” she adds, noting that she is inspired by the allure and techniques of antique and vintage jewelry. “Something about yellow gold brings a little of the past to the future.”
Other design influences include architecture, furniture, and, of course, fabrics. “The concept of one-of-a-kind comes from growing up with my mother making my clothes,” she explains, recalling memories of sitting on her mother’s lap at the sewing machine. “When I design, my mind is like a three-dimensional stage; I play with the stones, like soft fabric—the final piece is clear in my mind’s eye, and I am then ready to go to the drawing board.”
Mor intends to preserve the exclusivity of her collection with limited production and high quality. “My biggest dream is to expand into a lifestyle brand with a limited-edition and one-of-a-kind concept,” she says. “I cannot see myself mass producing—it’s not in my blood.”