A Good Soldier
Posted On Feb 18, 2016
Craft meets majesty in the world of Alex Soldier, NY-based master of jewelry and objets d’art, and we never tire of nature-inspired, one-of-a-kind pieces or geometric visions. Here, we chat with the acclaimed designer to wander through his beautiful mind and learn what’s steering his brand today.
Hailing from the Ural Mountains in Russian, NYC-based jewelry designer Alex Soldier has helmed his eponymous jewelry company since 1996. A master of intricacy, Solider is one of the most highly respected creators of one-of-a-kind, fine art jewelry. His signature snail designs are beautiful reminders to “slow down and enjoy life,” while a spectrum of painstakingly, lovingly rendered pieces — those that take nods from plant life and insects, as well as abstract expressions of his craft — are evidence of his great gifts.
Alex Soldier’s latest collection, available at Neimanmarcus.com, plays with golden hues and intricate metalwork. Expect lots of acorns, leaves, and natural inspirations of the sort. Those wonderful, signature snails are available in 18k gold.
Here, we speak with the man, himself.
NEW YOU: Alex, your pieces are true works of art, and always have been. What is your mental approach to bringing them to life? Do they appear to you for a long time before they’re made into reality, or do they flow within your process?
ALEX SOLDIER: Most of it comes from my imagination. As soon as an idea comes, I can visualize it in its 3D form in my head. Then I sit down and make a wax model. I only use a sketchpad for clients when they ask to see a few variations of a design.
NY: What concepts or materials are fascinating to you today?
AS: Life itself, and nature in its daily manifestation, are the ultimate sources of inspiration to me. I constantly work at my bench… and the present moment, in which the thought materializes through the creative process, never ceases to surprise me.
NY: What is the most gratifying part of designing today?
AS: I feel inspired when my clients tell me how their jewelry or sculptures that they own continue to fascinate them year after year, as they keep discovering new details on them.
NY: You are an unquestionable master of the craft of jewelry design, gem selection, and metalsmithing… How do those disciplines remain a part of your process today? What is different?
AS: Every time I design, I envision the technical aspects as well as artistic composition at once, before making new a piece.
NY: What’s your take on the public’s taste in jewelry today?
AS: Excellent question! The difference between truly exceptional jewelry and the generic is similar to that of fast food and fine cuisine. It’s all about one’s level of consciousness.
NY: In a host of industries — at this time of mobile communication and lightning fast discourse — there seems to be a desire for the handmade… Has your business reflected this?
AS: The desire for “handmade” has been rising because it reflects a desire for something genuine, instead of generic nonsense and glamorous emptiness offered by our current pop culture. I breathe life into each piece that I create and my clients feel that and love each piece that they own.
NY: How can men bring a bit of elevated jewelry design into their look in a way that won’t shock them?
AS: For a casual wear, I would suggest beginning with a thin chain bracelet or a small dog tag. For more formal look, cufflinks are always a classic.
NY: We love your connection to the Princess Grace Foundation… You’ve created awards for the organization’s annual awards ceremony for a number of years. How has that relationship impacted you?
AS: We’ve been involved with Princess Grace Foundation since 2009 and it’s been a wonderful experience all around. It’s like a family, filled with so many talented people.
NY: What’s the emotional component of acquiring a truly fine, unique piece of jewelry?
AS: It’s love for being different, love for art, love for travel, and love for life that offers no ordinary moments.