We are pleased to bring you this “Passion & Luxury” profile of one of our most favorite fine jewelry designers, Alexandra Mor, Alexandra Mor Haute-Couture Fine Jewelry, whose passion for fine and haute jewelry inspires us in how she expresses herself with gemstones, the spirit behind what drives her work and her passion for activism in the jewelry industry. She transforms raw materials into works of great beauty, heirloom worthy and exquisite, with her signature style, masterfully created into timeless statement and one-of-a kind pieces with great attention to detail, that reflect the beauty and personality of the wearer. With fine craftsmanship she transforms gemstones and metal into a wearable piece of art with captivating character and inimitable beauty.
Introducing Alexandra Mor
I can of course start with the obvious—what I’m probably expected to say. I’m a luxury Jewelry Designer and the Founder of Alexandra Mor Haute-Couture Fine Jewelry, which offers bespoke, limited-edition and one of a kind fine jewelry. But that is the wrapping. I am first and foremost a woman, a mother, a girlfriend, and a human being. I also happen to be a designer, and I’m using my creative gift to empower others to discover their own unique light. Some of the ways I do that is through designing custom pieces for jewelry collectors, teaching meditation, or helping other leaders to discover a new way to be in the world. I wish to inspire others to step into their higher-selves and true gifts, sharing the different skills I’ve learned in life and help them make their dreams a reality.
I consider myself an activist. What activism has to do with creativity? In creativity, which I believe all of us have, there is passion, courage, and dedication. Creativity is inherent in all of us, but like anything else in life, it stems from a relationship with oneself. As such, it requires constant work that is interconnected and affects every area of our lives.
Embedding creativity into my role as an activist allows me to stand up for what I believe in no matter what anyone else says. It gives me the confidence, courage, and tenacity needed to get noticed and lend a voice to the causes I value. I am an advocate for things like mutual respect and social justice, along with gender, racial, and religious equality. I stand for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and practice kindness and fairness in my personal and professional life.
For example, my work has a special focus on sustainability and mindful design, using conflict-free gems and other ethically-sourced materials. That is also how I started my relationship with Vogue Italia, and I have been serving as the Creative Director for the Protagonist Haute Couture Annual Sustainable Jewelry Exhibit since 2017, bringing socially conscious artists, brands, and collectors together. Vogue Italia brought me into this role to rethink the event’s purpose and transform it into the fist haute-couture fine jewelry exhibit focused on sustainability and mindful practices. The event curated a selected group of committed fine jewelry brands and other relevant partnerships.
In order to understand the moving parts of sustainability as a whole and its effect on consumers and business, I am attending a Master’s program at the New York location of Glasgow Caledonian New York College for the Common Good. The program is focused on impact investing and sustainability. Sustainability is a multi-faceted universe, like a diamond, and in order for me to lead, it is important to be versed in politics, finance, and regulations as well as the environmental implications of our industry. As my purpose is to give back and do good in the world, I transformed my business into a socially conscious practice. I plan to change how we do business with the help of others who share my vision.
Tell us about your background and about the path that sparked your passion for creation and brought your luxury business to life.
I grew up in Israel, where my French couturier mother and aunt introduced me to couture dressmaking at a young age. My grandfather and my grandmother came from a family of tailors, from the cities of Lodz and Warsaw in Poland. Couture runs in our family’s DNA. I’ve always been drawn to creative pursuits, and I initially pursued a career as a filmmaker. However, in 2004, when I was four months pregnant with my oldest son Adam, I found my true calling in a jewelry bench class.
I spent several years expanding my knowledge and honing my craft. In December of 2010, I launched my first collection at Phillips de Pury & Company (today’s Philips) in New York City. In 2013, shortly after winning the FGI `Fine Jewelry Rising Star Award’, I began collaborating with Gemfields, creating ethically sourced jewelry from emeralds. I also opened my own branded salon in a store in Boston and joined Bergdorf Goodman’s Fine Jewelry Selected group of Jewelers in their newly renovated 5th Avenue store. Since my work was covered in top magazines, and red carpet by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Kate Winslet, Naomi Campbell , Brooke Shields, Demi Moore, and Beyoncé wore our jewelry. It was an exciting time, and my rise felt meteoric.
Over the years, I continued to work with sustainable gems, making my mark in the industry as a designer who believes there is no reason to compromise between sustainability and luxury.
In fact, I contend that luxury and sustainability naturally complement one another. People hold different ideas of what sustainability means, but I am happy to see that people are gaining a more educated grasp of the topic—that it’s not just a way of recycling your garbage. Sustainability is way more than that. It’s a way of being that starts with the individual and ripples into everything he or she does. And so for many, it may run counter to conventional wisdom, but both sustainability and luxury arise from mindful caring and intentional practice. Bespoke and couture work, for example, has been valued throughout the ages because of the personal and direct attention to detail artisans put into each piece.
“When fused with a mission to make the world a better place, sustainable design can become a meditation in its own right. It invites us to contemplate the true ‘value’ of an object in an entirely new way.” ~ Alexandra Mor
Passion has ebb and flow. What keeps your creative forces and passions alive?
It really depends how you define passion and the incentive behind it. I don’t necessarily see passion as something that changes or is affected by external events. However, in my experience, it does grow and change form as your mindset evolves. It can become clearer or fade away and transform into something else.
I first realized I’m here to channel my creativity toward a higher purpose when I became interested in meditation and a more mindful living. I realized that jewelry design alone couldn’t challenge my soul to grow. I felt the longing to elevate my efforts, shifting my own business to guide others toward conscious consumption. But when I first had this realization, I simply didn’t know where to begin.
That is when I made the radical decision to uproot my life, moving myself and my family to the island of Bali. A famed destination for entrepreneurs and sustainable leaders around the world, Bali’s calming atmosphere and rich culture of spirituality was the perfect place for an inward journey, so I arrived with an open mind and let my intuition guide me.
That journey influenced my business, my life, and my relationships. It was the only way for me to continue in the industry and keep my design business. The passion I have stems not only from the beautiful diamonds and the gemstones I work with. It arises from sharing my true calling with others. That passion just happens to start with jewelry.
Bali is where my meditation practice became serious and deep. It’s also where I first learned about the Tagua seed, an alternative to ivory that comes from a specific species of palm tree found in tropical South American rainforest.
I had watched a documentary film where I learned that the population of African forest elephants had shrunk by 30% in only 5 years, between 2007 and 2014, and that they might go extinct within the next 10 years! I was outraged to learn that my industry has a big part in promoting this, and I was determined to do something about it.
The more I learned about the Tagua seed, the more excited I became. Here was a beautiful, viable, socially conscious alternative that looked and felt just like the ivory that came from an elephant’s tusks. With the Tagua seed, I saw the potential to reduce the senseless killing of elephants while allowing the carvers to continue practicing their craft—providing income for women in rural Amazon communities.
I envisioned a high-end, handcrafted jewelry made from its smooth, solid, white core, and I started to strategize. I felt it was my calling to tell the story of the Tagua seed, and I needed to find a way to do it that spoke to the high-end jewelry market, where most elephant ivory is being used for jewelry.
I wanted to respect the traditions of those who worship elephant tasks, but at the same time make them understand the unnecessary damage it creates and see the beauty and value in the Tagua Seed as a new alternative. That is when I realized I could introduce it to the world as a new luxury material in the field of fine jewelry. After all, it was also the ‘seed’ in which I started my own journey into sustainability.
It was essentially a rebranding effort for the Tagua seed. After nearly a year’s worth of work, I debuted the first-of-its-kind sustainable, haute couture Tagua seed capsule jewelry collection, and it was one of the proudest moments of my career.
And so, to answer your original question, I believe that what sustains passion is the purpose behind it. By channeling passion through creative storytelling, I was able to transform the Tagua seed’s story to serve a higher purpose. Not only is it there to adorn someone’s body with beautiful jewelry—it serves the world on a much higher level. Plus, it gifts its wearer an intrinsic, meaningful quality that no other jewelry can hold. I’m passionate about the Tagua seed, but as you know, my work won’t stop here.
My work as a designer, entrepreneur, and Creative Director revolves around continually reinventing myself in service of a higher good. To that end, I am launching a boutique consulting firm called Circles of Stones Consultancy Group. I dreamed up this new initiative a year ago, when I started my Master’s journey. The goal is to offer services to other companies that are deeply committed to sustainable practices. It will draw on my extensive network of sustainability experts to help businesses become more human-and eco-conscious.
“I originally planned to launch in 2022. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has inspired me to expedite this project, as I see a greater need than ever for companies and brands to implement more sustainable practices.” ~ Alexandra Mor
I hope to launch this service in January 2021, and I am excited for the opportunity to work with other business owners from the fine jewelry world and other industries. I want to work with organizations looking to improve themselves and the world—helping to refine their purpose, change their business model and messaging, and modify their manufacturing processes for the better.
Similar to my own personal and professional journey, the driving principle behind Circles of Stones Consultancy Group is that business transformation is an inside job. We can only move forward by honoring every part of ourselves, our businesses, our communities, and our environment. I want to help organizations and their leaders develop a deep, active commitment to a more mindful and sustainable business model. I see it as my soul’s purpose in life to help evolve and enrich the worlds within and around us.
And so, as a global consulting boutique firm, Circles of Stones Consultancy Group will specialize in bringing the best out of people and companies, and to help inspire a collective well-being that outweighs individual success.
“All my work will serve as an offering to future generations. This is my legacy, what I wish to be remembered for when I am gone from this planet.” ~ Alexandra Mor
I believe that we all are the new activists, be it me as a designer or ‘Joe Shmoe’ who grows corn in his fields. I’m on a mission to share my experience, knowledge, and network with others, pursuing the benefits of low-impact practices and purposeful business. This is my vision, and it’s what keeps my passion alive.
What are the causes you support that you are passionate about?
As I mentioned in my previous answer, sustainability is near and dear to my heart. I’ve worked with conflict-free gems for years, and my latest endeavor was to introduce the Tagua seed to the world of fine jewelry collectors, and the industry as a whole, as an alternative to ivory.
The broader mission of my initiative is about creating a cultural shift in the way we think about businesses where we pay more attention to our impact on human beings, the planet, our cultural heritage, and our resources. But without supporting individual change and awareness we will continue being challenged by the fast-paced nature of the modern world. Today, more than any other time in history, people need to find tools to stay grounded in the present. We must do all this without giving up hope and or letting fear get in our way.
“I believe that within each of us lies a seed—that seed looks different to different people, but its a common ground on which we can build a more harmonious and beautiful future for humanity. I believe that together, we can make that happen.” ~Alexandra Mor
What other passions in your life drive you?
I’m the mother of three amazing human beings, my three jewels, Adam, Ariana and Michaella. I have been doing everything within my power to help them grow up to be kind, mindful human beings. I hope to leave them a better world someday, but in the end, it’s all going to be in their hands. The most important thing for me is to raise them to be good people. It’s as simple as that. Everything else can follow later on in life.
I’ve come to believe that schools today should focus on ethics and values, rather than on math and Science, these were established to answer the need for work force and the industrial revolution. Today we need to promote a different set of tools so that kids be able to go into the world with values and ways of being that will help impact the future of humans and our one planet, in a positive way.
If you have a message to pass on, what would it be?
In the Lotus Sutra, one of the most influential texts of Mahayana Buddhism, there’s a line that roughly translates to “shine one corner of the world,” or “light up one corner of the world.” I take that to mean that world transformation is an inside job-light only one corner, no need for the entire world, and that will be enough to make it clear just where you are. It starts with us, you see! Focusing within, and expanding our efforts to what’s around us, by remaining mindful and fully present the whole time.
As a business owner, I checked off all the things on my to-do list, and yet, none of it was my true calling. It was a phase that I need to go through, but the time had come when I needed a bigger purpose. I needed a reason to wake up to in the morning.
When you run a business with your name on it, people start seeing you as your business. They see you as your brand persona, even though you’re much more than that. I decided to make the story less about me. That was a turning point. Although today I am still using my own personal journey and sharing experiences with the world, I feel it is everyone’s journey.
Each person I share my story with can see themselves in my shoes. That’s my goal. We are all one. I am you and you are me, and our human experience is shared by our collective unconscious. That’s why in 2016, after six years on the New York treadmill, and moved to the island of Bali Indonesia. The decision to scale down my business in the traditional sense, and taking a break from the “perfect life,” was not a difficult one. I started focusing on important things like relationships, family, and the soul. It was a life-changing experience for all of us and the unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.
It’s not that my cell phone didn’t ring or that my inbox didn’t get flooded with thousands of unread emails. Today, we can’t run away from all that, even in the most remote area. But Bali offered us a greener, more natural, more mindful, soulful, and like-minded community. It ignited a part of me that was waiting to be revealed. The songs of nature, waterfalls, fresh air, new flavors, mindful tradition, and a new language made my heart beat. Bali awakened my soul.
In Bali, I found a new way of coexisting with the world. I learned a new way of using my gifts and talents to serve and share the land’s stories, its heritage, and its crafts. And as I worked with new materials—materials of purpose, like the Tagua seed—it transformed how I related to the world and to the intrinsic value of things. I was connected and present. My personal and professional sides finally became one.
“My greatest takeaway from this experience is very clear. Ask yourself every day, when you wake up, if the life you lead makes you feel fulfilled and gives you a sense of belonging”.~ Alexandra Mor
Are you willing to follow where your heart leads you? Or are you silencing your true purpose? Whatever the answer, don’t be afraid. Believe it, be open to it, and listen to it.
And most importantly, don’t see your spiritual journey as a tool for financial success or fame. If you do, you’re falling back into the trap you’re trying to break free of. This is a pure process, and when done right, it is the key for unlocking the light in each of us.
We were born with this light, and we exist for a reason. It takes a lot of guts to pause—to follow your heart and live your passion. You’ll piss off a lot of people and will be unsure of whether you’re doing the right things. Many times you’ll be alone, like a pathfinder, but if you are willing to embark on this journey, trust that universe is listening. When we make clear requests, it always, always shows up.
The philosopher and educator Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
These days, I do my best to live according to that principle.
Thank you to Alexandra Mor for allowing us this intimate look at the woman, her work and passions.
EAT LOVE SAVOR’S special campaign is entitled “PASSION & LUXURY”. This campaign features select people in luxury and their passions. We are highlighting true luxury brands, ateliers and maisons small through large. The campaign consists of publishing online and to social media the portraits of passionate people in luxury – the creators, designers and founders who inspire others with their passions in life not just in business. Without passion, there is no luxury. Passionate creators that are a source of inspiration, fueling the luxury industry and preserving its skills and essence, whose passionate energy is infectious and drives their creations and pursuit of excellence.