Monday, May 19, 2014

Alexandra Hart, a Designer With Heart

Post by Patricia Syvrud

San Diego-based jewelry designer Alexandra Hart's nature-inspired jewelry items reflect not only her design aesthetic, but also her business ethic.  Self-described as hoping to "create jewelry which captures the delicate balance of the bold and sculptural with the sensual and graceful" Alix, as she's known to her friends and colleagues, incorporates her deep caring about the world in which we live and the industry's impact on the environment into how she runs her company.

The Award winning Golden Sunburst Necklace in 18K yellow gold with hidden clasp. Chosen by the World Gold Council International Campaign and a Niche Award Finalist 2009. I've chosen this piece as my Gem to Remember for its soft femininity and sculptural elegance.
 Patricia's Gem to Remember

A designer with depth, Alix realized in high school that she had a true love of crafting with metals, which to her was like eating 'icing off the cake', i.e. SWEET!  After receiving her undergraduate degree in Art at Skidmore College, she extended her studies with a Masters in Metalsmithing from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Commissioned ring of a lovely blue Mozambique tourmaline set in platinum, accented with diamonds. The shank of the ring is hinged to open and be strung as a pendant.

Her working background includes designing jewelry for the fashion houses Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy, and a time working at Barbara Heinrich Studio (read our earlier post about Barbara's lovely jewelry by clicking on the highlighted text).

Venus ring in sterling silver with 18K yellow gold beads.

The daughter of an ophthalmologist (dad) and graphic designer/illustrator (mom), these genetic influences are easily seen in her jewelry which is often inspired by her interest in biology, the science of nature, and ocean creatures.

Baroque cultured pearl drop earrings in 18K yellow gold.

Alexandra Hart bridal jewelry Cylinder rings in platinum with natural colored diamonds

A favorite of my blog partner Christine's is the Wave ring.  The bezel set pink sapphire seems to "float" in the trough of the wave, and the crest of the wave appears to be curling to break. The hand finishing to the gold bands also provides texture and dimension against the high polished edges.  Simply beautiful details.

Wave set in18K yellow gold, pink sapphire and diamond.
Christine's Gem to Remember

Cactus pendant and earrings from the Tantulus Collection in 18K yellow gold.

18K yellow gold fold and hammer formed Feather cuff bracelet with bezel set diamonds.

A firm believer in sustainability in her work and life, Alix recycles EVERYTHING (she says that even fallen branches in her yard become mulch!) and uses only recycled precious metals and ethically sourced diamonds and colored gemstones.  She's an active board member with Ethical Metalsmiths, an organization whose mission is to "lead jewelers and consumers in becoming informed activists for responsible mining, sustainable economic development and verified, ethical sources of materials used in making jewelry." 

Considered a leader in ethically sourced fine designer jewelry, Alix was approached last year by Rio Tinto to create a line of jewelry that tells her story, and so Pure Flight was born.  Made from 100% recycled sterling silver and natural Silvermist diamonds from the Australian Argyle mine, these pieces embody Alix's nature-inspired designs crafted from responsibly sourced materials and became part of Rio Tinto's Diamonds With A Story campaign. 

Pure Flight necklace, recycled sterling silver and Silvermist diamonds.

Flutter necklace - adjustable multi-strand piece in recycled sterling silver and Silvermist diamonds.

Semi-Plume ring in recycled sterling silver and Silvermist diamonds.

Flutter cufflinks in recycled sterling silver and Silvermist diamonds.

Alix is not afraid to incorporate 'out of the box' design elements into some of her collections. TheVenus Flytrap suite is hammer formed and fabricated 18K yellow gold with false eyelashes.  Talk about unusual!

I was lucky enough to visit Alix at her studio in southern California recently, so much fun!  Here she is at the bench working on a commissioned piece.

Alix kept examples of the fashion jewelry items she designed for Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy.  What a box of goodies!

The natural flow and movement of nature is often reflected in Alix's designs.  The Golden Chrysanthemum ring is hammer formed 18K yellow gold with linked movable elements around a natural 0.96ct cognac zircon.  This is so much fun to wear!

Long Quill earrings in palladium (a metal from the platinum metals group) and Australian sourced Silvermist diamonds.

Oval Spiral ring/pendant. A commissioned piece in 14K white gold set with the clients' aquamarine cabochon gemstone, accented with diamonds.

Pearl on a Wave ring in 18K yellow gold. Ergonomically fitted textured wave-edged ring with natural color freshwater cultured pearl.

The Petals ring in 18K yellow gold hammer formed petal elements linked to hammered band with one akoya cultured pearl, chimes and sways with wearer’s motions.

Pearl Petals suite - Hammer formed 18K yellow gold petals radiating from freshwater cultured pearl strand and one inch long matching earrings.

Poinsettia ring from the Petals Collection. Hammer formed 18K yellow gold elements linked to shank with 0.12ct diamond center.  The petals move and flow with your hand, or lay flat and open when the hand is still.

Alix's Radiant collection again reflects her inherent design aesthetic that draws on flowing ocean creatures for inspiration. I love this Radiant Jellyfish pin/pendant for its 18K textured yellow gold, mabe cultured pearl center and colorless and natural colored cognac diamond accents.  Not to mention its versatility!

Radiant pendant,  hammer formed and fabricated 18K yellow gold pendant with a bezel set 7mm Natural Zircon and diamond accents.

The Radiant suite in hammer formed 18K yellow gold with freshwater cultured pearl center gems.

Radiant Feather necklace in hammer formed recycled sterling silver with a hidden clasp.

This client commissioned piece centers on a Munsteiner carved fire opal (Look for our Munsteiner blog coming up in the next month!) set in an 18K yellow gold girdle of protruding diamonds.

Alix also joins the ranks of the few high end jewelry designers that also design for men.  I love her cufflinks and stud sets for the well-dressed man in your life!

Textured Edge cufflinks - Hammered edge 18K yellow gold bezel set with green tourmaline bullet cabochons.

Volute tuxedo set - Oxidized sterling silver spirals create unique cufflinks and shirt studs.

Here are the matching women's earrings!  Volute 18K yellow gold stud earrings accented with colorless diamonds.

The Mermaid ring from the Tantalus collection in 18K yellow gold is dramatic to look at and amazingly comfortable to wear.

A frequent sculpture in a variety of mediums, The Conspicuous Consumption neck collar in recycled sterling silver and freshwater cultured pearls is one of Alix's more sculptural pieces.  Her description of this piece is fascinating!  "This piece considers the Victorian collar as a predator that consumes the vulnerable female neck, alluding to the form of the zebra striped Gorgonian Wrapper sea anemone (nemanthus annamensis). The mouth of this predatory sea anemone is surrounded by tentacles armed with many cells that function as a defense and as a means to capture and consume prey."

Not satisfied to only place her efforts in industry-focused initiatives, Alix is also an ardent supporter of the non-profit, all volunteer organization Compassion for African Villages. 
Please look at Alix's entire collection and read more about this interesting designer at www.alexandrahart.comA woman and fine jewelry designer who works responsibly, ethically and with a deep care about the world in which she lives!

No comments:

Post a Comment