Theresa Bruno established her jewellery brand Jordan Alexander in 2013 and since then, her designs have been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Julia Roberts. Here, the designer tells us about her commitment to sustainability, creating bespoke pieces and channelling her grandmother’s elegance
1. How was Jordan Alexander born?
I was originally a musician and studied music at The Juilliard School where I learned an appreciation for the essential balance between free form and disciplined art. I suppose it’s true to say that craftsmanship was essential and noticeably present in my everyday life.
I was inspired to be a jewellery designer from an early age by heritage pieces, most notably, my grandmother’s pearls. When I had to stop piano because of an injury to my hand, I needed to find a new creative focus, and this seemed a natural progression given my long running interest in the beauty and craft of fine jewellery pieces.
My official breakthrough came when I was approached about First Lady Michelle Obama wearing some of my pieces, and everything flowed from that extraordinary honour. The company was formed, and the name Jordan Alexander is for my two gorgeous sons.
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2. Do you design with a particular woman in mind?
I have always been inspired by my grandmother, her Southern elegance and the ease with which she moved through the world. I channel her often when I’m designing.
3. What inspires you to start a new collection?
I am often sparked by my travels; particular colours, and the different ways women adorn themselves. I love photography and visual art and it is all a constant source of inspiration. I was recently in New Orleans and wandered into this tiny little photography gallery. There was a stunning collection of photography by an Italian photographer that had so much movement and soul in the way he photographed. Those experiences are so motivational.
4. As a relatively young company, how do you compete with heritage brands?
My jewellery represents my own elegant but free-spirited style. I am an independent designer who carefully hand-crafts each piece, using 18K gold, diamonds and precious hand-selected stones from trusted suppliers who can prove their credentials when it comes to sustainable sourcing. My style is a balance between everyday pieces and ceremonial rings and heirloom, bespoke collectibles. There are many other brands whom I admire enormously, but the truth is that I walk my own road and we are in no rush as a company to expand fast. My bespoke work is my passion and, in my opinion, Jordan Alexander’s point of difference.
The ﬁrst step is starting the dialogue, asking the right questions to better understand the context of each piece and the personal style of the wearer, including sometimes the specific wardrobe with which the pieces will need to coordinate. Once the concept is determined, the client will work with me through every phase of the creative process: concept to sketch, design detail, stone sourcing and ﬁnally, production. I have created many bespoke pieces for ball gowns and special events.
5. Can you tell us about the brand’s sustainability efforts?
Social responsibility is a vital thread that runs through the Jordan Alexander business, which is why I have aligned the brand with A21, a global anti-human trafficking organisation. After travelling with the group to work personally alongside victims in rescue and rehabilitation efforts, I have collaborated to launch a line of jewellery with 100% of proceeds going directly to A21. In general, we re-use gold, repurpose stones and ensure that waste is built out of the creative process.
6. Have you made any new year resolutions?
I don’t really make resolutions, but my thoughts about how I want to live this year are about balance: the balance between being brave and being vulnerable. About being strong, but living with a soft heart. It is a political year in the US with lots of energy about the Presidential election. Everywhere you go people are really heated about it. My hope is to be open enough to accept, and even listen to those who sit on a different side than me, while being true to my beliefs and values.
View the collections: jordanalexanderjewelry.com