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Aug 18

This Mexico City Jewelry Designer Is Making Heirlooms, Not Instagram Bait

Alexa de la Cruz may be the mysterious blunt-bobbed woman showing up on your favorite Instagram accounts, but this arresting face does much more than make cameos in her designer friends’ lookbooks. After taking online classes and enrolling in a design workshop, the 23-year-old launched an 11-piece line of strikingly simple jewelry this past spring: an asymmetrical donut-like pendant, baroque pearl and tiger bead drop earrings, and a bracelet strung with black agate spheres. If the less-is-more aesthetic feels at odds with the Mexico City native’s at-times frenetic surroundings, she insists they are connected: “Sometimes it’s very chaotic in this city, but then you just look around and everything is so elegant and beautiful with the light that falls.”

Her pieces take more than visual inspiration from the design capital, though, as they’re also made locally. With the help of her engineer husband, De la Cruz first molds her forms on a 3-D printer, before passing them off to a downtown craftsman (and De la Cruz’s mentor), who uses local silver and coral that De la Cruz handpicks on the Mexican coast. From there, she roams the streets, camera in hand, to shoot the objets on her close friends. “It’s more natural for me [than using models],” she says.

This sense of ease sits at the heart of her collection. These are not fussy, Instagram-bait accessories or ones that come with a four-digit price tag. Rather, they are the kind of weighty heirlooms that can be passed down from generation to generation—much like her grandfather’s signet ring. It inspired her first design, the Estalon, which is centered around a circlet of green jade. “It’s a very sentimental piece for me,” she says. “That’s what jewelry is: a treasure of yours.”


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