Jewelry designer Alexandra Mor developed her own style within the rarefied world of haute couture jewelry, where every piece is an individually handcrafted work of art, making her the perfect person for us to query about the seemingly daunting process of custom engagement rings.
MSW: Where should one look for inspiration for their design? Should the bride and/or groom bring in images of rings they like? Or should they start somewhere else?
AM: I always ask clients to share with me what they like and what inspires them. It’s very helpful but more than that, it allows for authenticity. These details give me an idea of who they are. I’ll then take the concept and translate it into proportions, layout, and design. If a man is coming by himself, he should do his homework—listen to her, ask her or even do some private investigating to get to the bottom of what she likes. Get a close friend involved, take her to a jewelry store and help find out her ring size, even ask her to take photos. The groom can also simply ask the love of his life what she likes.
MSW: There are definitely a lot of trends in engagement rings. How can a girl have a ring that expresses her aesthetic and style but is still timeless?
AM: Brides today are very savvy and fashionable. And that’s great but it’s no replacement for authenticity. When you’re authentic, you’re in tune with yourself and that’s crucial if you’re going to be creating a piece for your own joy and pleasure.
MSW: Does a couple have to have a sky-high budget in order to do custom?
AM: Not at all. A custom order piece will not necessarily cost any more than any other piece from my signature collection.
MSW: What is your process for creating a custom engagement ring?
AM: I work at finding the stone that speaks to my client and me as the design of the rest of the ring will completely revolve around it. After the signature stone has been selected, I start brainstorming the setting and rendering. I typically share three design options. We’ll review and pick a favorite, refining it together in stages until we arrive at a final design. I see the collaboration with the couple as essential to the success of the ring. After the final drawing is approved by my client we embark on the road to bring it to reality. Every millimeter of the proposed design is scrutinized and every single way to forge forward to create an incredible one-of-a-kind jewel is considered, revisited and perfected. Once I feel that we are aligned, actual production begins. The process may take anywhere between 2-4 weeks for simpler pieces, but up to 4 months for the more intricate ones. I’ve even created a section in my website called ‘My Jewelry Box’ where customers can virtually view every stage of their creation’s production from the comfort of their computer.
MSW: And what about the wedding bands? There are a lot of "matching" bands these days? Does the wedding band need to match?
AM: In my view, it all comes down to personal taste and there’s no right or wrong way. My own personal wedding set (which I designed, of course) is a main ring plus three matching bands. Two bands are platinum like the main ring and one is 18k yellow gold. If someone already knows they want to wear an eternity band next to their engagement ring then, yes, it’s important to know so I can design the ring accordingly and make sure the two work harmoniously together. But they can look different, too. It depends on the person.
Alexandra Mor’s Signature Collection launches this fall.