The Artist: Russian-born jeweler Alex Soldier’s one-of-a-kind designs—which he constructs with the aid of a high-powered microscope in his Times Square studio—range from sleek geometric forms to nature-inspired creations, and all share refined technical detailing and hand-craftsmanship. Formerly a computer engineer, he quickly climbed the ranks at a jewelry plant in Russia’s Ural region, becoming head designer at age 25. After moving to New York, he founded his own brand in 1996.
Technique: Each design begins with a hand-carved wax model that consists of a few components that Soldier creates in his studio. His team of artists—none of whom had prior formal jewelry training—work alongside him to finish the final product, helping to craft the intricate metal bases that ultimately hold colorful gemstones like peridot, emerald, and aquamarine. “My designs require one to step outside the boundaries of traditional craftsmanship, so any previous jewelry training is a disadvantage,” says Soldier, noting that formulaic techniques have no place in his studio. “I train from scratch so that my team may have an expanded vision instead of set design structure in their mind.” Soldier typically applies texture to the jewelry’s metal in stages, using stainless-steel tools that he invented. He layers textures until the desired surface is achieved. For example, the 18-karat gold face of a curious snail peeking out from its brown shell (gold and platinum bejeweled with diamonds, sapphires, garnets, and citrines) is finely stippled to mimic the mollusk’s natural gleam ($25,000). Each piece can take anywhere from two weeks to four months to complete.
Jewelry: Soldier’s diverse repertoire, inventive use of textured metals, and meticulous gem placement reflect his creative and technical depths. Whether crafting a sunflower ring (in 18-karat yellow, rose, and white gold) with delicately drooping yellow-diamond petals and green-tsavorite leaves ($19,500) or a luminous 18-karat gold ring topped with an arching rainbow of delicate diamonds, amethysts, citrines, sapphires, aquamarines, tsavorites, and garnets ($19,500), Soldier’s jewelry is, as he describes, “a constantly evolving combination of shape, color, and texture” made to be unforgettable and undefinable. “The beauty of my jewelry lies in the way it blurs the line between fine ornament and miniature sculpture.”
Where to Get It: Clients can contact Soldier directly to schedule an appointment, and his collections are available at select Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, as well as Neiman Marcus online. (Alex Soldier, alexsoldier.com; Neiman Marcus, neimanmarcus.com)