By Anna Kathryn Kovach, Contributing Writer for Gladys Magazine.
New York, NY–Very few artists can achieve greatness without tenacity and dedication to their art. It’s through their works of art that one is catapulted into a world of passion, beauty and wonder. This is where life and art become something very sacred and cherished. Alex Soldier’s jewelry not only reveals his passion for life but also how his family continues to inspire us all with the splendor and delicacy of his wearable art. Recently, I had the honor of catching up with Alex’s daughter, Maria Soldier. Maria is the Executive Director at Alex Soldier and has been by her father’s side from the very beginning. She describes her father’s jewelry as “passion in detail” and shares how “he draws his inspiration from everyday moments that are never ordinary to him.” Maria expresses how her father’s incredible talent has captured the hearts of leading editors, style experts and buyers who often proclaim him as one of the most innovative visionaries of our time.
MARIA, I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOW YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BECAME IMMERSED IN THE WORLD OF JEWELRY. CAN YOU TELL ME HOW YOU AND YOUR FAMILY CAME TO AMERICA AND THE JOURNEY OF HOW THE ALEX SOLDIER JEWELRY BRAND BEGAN?
“We came to America in a rather transitional time in history, which was the beginning of 1991, half a year before the Soviet Union fell apart. It was like arriving on a different planet, everything was so different than what we were used to in the old world. We literally had to start our new life from scratch. My parents had to work endless hours in order to sustain our family, but we pulled through those tough years as a family and in 1996 dad launched his first independent jewelry collection that made its debut at the Jewelers of America International show in New York’s Javits Center.
When the legendary JA Show Director Mort Abelson saw my dad's collection he said the following: ‘you’re extremely talented and will achieve great things if you’re patient enough, because your vision is so far ahead of our time that it will take people a while to understand it as it often happens to many great artists.’”
WHAT MAJOR EVENTS CATAPULTED YOU AND YOUR FAMILY INTO YOUR DESTINY WITH ALEX SOLDIER?
“I think that one of the major breakthroughs for us was when Neiman Marcus started carrying our jewelry in 2006. I still remember that day vividly well when I cold-called Eric Ford, Neiman Marcus Precious Jewelry Buyer and invited him to stop by our booth at an upcoming trade show. He did stop by, loved the collection and the rest is history. It catapulted our brand into a stratosphere of new opportunities and exposed my dad's talent to an international audience.”
CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE UNIQUE TECHNIQUES YOUR FATHER HAS DEVELOPED?
“He invented his own tools to apply a multitude of his remarkable textures onto the metal that are intricately hand-done in several layers, making the final outcome a true work of art. He works with precious metal just as a painter with a canvas or a writer with a manuscript. But texture is just one of his many inventions among many others, including his extensive collection of precious mini-sculptures with a myriad of details in them. Alex Soldier’s jewelry and sculptures are composed of so many intricate components that you often need a magnifying glass to be able to see them all. Each design is about structure, proportions, details, texture and composition. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube – each piece dependent on the next one to compose the whole.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR FATHER'S PIECES SPEAK TO PEOPLE?
“He puts his heart and soul into making every single piece of his one of a kind bejeweled masterpieces and it speaks volumes to people when they get to see it and wear it. Most of our clients become collectors of his work, as it brings them joy and ultimate satisfaction of having a remarkable work of art that speaks the language of eternity and soothes the soul.”
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AND HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE THIS INSPIRATION INTO THE ALEX SOLDIER JEWELRY LINE?
“I would say that kindness, mindfulness and compassion is what inspires me the most and this is what I try to incorporate into our daily work ethic, starting from supporting sustainability to implementing a plastic-free environment as much as possible on a daily basis. We're closely involved with a few charities and support our local community. I also take on a few interns every semester and teach them how to be proficient in daily communication, what it takes to build their own success and realize their full potential. I think that it's imperative for college kids to have confidence and hands-on experience added to their extensive academic curriculum. Giving back is what gives us inspiration to move forward.”
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES WHILST BEING ON THIS INCREDIBLE JOURNEY WITH ALEX SOLDIER JEWELRY?
“There are just so many wonderful memories and people that I'm grateful to for teaching me and helping me become what I am today. I would probably need to write a separate book on it. To me, life is always about this adventurous journey, not the destination.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GETTING TO MEET PRINCESS CHARLENE OF MONACO AND PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO?
"It was like a fairy tale that first took place more than a decade ago, time flies so fast! We were introduced at the Princess Grace Awards in New York City. In 2009, Princess Grace Foundation-USA commissioned Alex Soldier to create Princess Grace Awards, which are bestowed onto the Awards recipients at the annual Awards Gala. A singular, dramatic statue is presented to the Prince Rainier III Award recipient each year: a prominent celebrity in the arts who has made it his or her personal mission to give back. The past award winners included Bernadette Peters, Tim Daly, James Cameron, Queen Latifah, Robert Redford, Dick Van Dyke, Cicely Tyson, Julie Andrews, Denzel Washington, Mandy Patinkin, and Lynn Wyatt.”
Alex and Maria Solider with His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sybille and Robert Redford at Princess Grace Awards Gala held at the Prince's Palace of Monaco. Jewelry: Alex Soldier. Dress: Alex Teih.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MOST FAVORITE TREASURED PIECES OF JEWELRY FROM ALEX SOLDIER?
“I love all of my dad's creations. My most treasured are the ones that he made for my birthdays. One was of course our signature Codi The Snail which I wear everyday, the other is a diamond heart pendant. A Zodiac necklace that he made for my astrological sign of Aquarius and a Cocktail ring that features my birthstone. I treasure and cherish each one of these special gifts.”
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON TODAY FOR SOME OF YOUR LATEST COLLECTIONS?
"My dad is constantly working on something new. It's always several different projects at once. Right now he's developing a new collection of dainty pendants and charms that would be perfect for people that like to wear smaller-scale pieces."
HOW DO YOU BRING YOUR OWN FLAIR AND PASSION INTO THE CREATIVE PROCESS OF JEWELRY DESIGN AND MARKETING?
“Intuition is the key, as it always guides me in the right direction. I express creativity in every moment of my life, it starts from my morning meditation and ends with a nightly prayer of gratitude.”
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OUR READERS WHO WOULD LIKE TO RUN A BUSINESS?
“Patience, persistence and perseverance are the key elements to any successful business. Our ultimate goal is to bring more light and kindness into our world by making one of a kind jewelry art filled with meaning, love and beauty. By making this world a better place for all living beings to thrive in.”