The first time I saw Alexa Leigh Meyer’s jewelry I was so struck by it that the image has been imprinted in my mind ever since. It was a stack of rings on Danielle Berstein’s Instagram, and I was immediately enamored. I headed straight to Alexa Leigh’s Instagram, then website, and fell in love with piece after piece.
Fast forward over a year later, and I had the opportunity to chat with Alexa in one of her (very select) retailers, Coop & Spree in Soho. Of course, the image below was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bloggers who have fallen in love with Alexa’s delicate but striking aesthetic. Since Alexa is not one to toot her own horn, I was happy to have her friend, Coop & Spree owner Brooke Richman, there as well, who was more than willing to fill in the gaps of the Alexa Leigh story.
“She is always ahead of the trends,” Brooke said. “Even super long necklaces—now everyone is doing that and she was the first person to do that.”
Alexa actually attributes that type of innovation to the fact that when she joined the jewelry industry, she was coming in blind. “Some of my success has come from inexperience, actually. For example, most jewelry designers know that the standard necklace length is around 16 inches. When I first got into designing, I didn’t. So I didn’t think, “Okay, here’s the standard.” I just thought, “I think this would look cool sitting here,” and it was like 30 inches.”
When the Alexa Leigh brand was born, Alexa was an advertising sales rep who was bored with her job. “I loved jewelry, and I liked art and drawing,” she said. “And whenever I walked into a store I would beeline for the jewelry case, but I started to find that I wasn’t finding what I was looking for to wear, because everything was sort of typical. You saw the same things everywhere. I wanted something you could wear a few different ways or something with sentimental value—just something a little bit different. So my dad was actually the one who said, “You should design!” And I was like, “Sure, I’ll give it a shot,” and then found a real love and passion for it and was stupid enough to think, “Oh yeah I can do that” and I did.”
That artistic flair has carried the brand through to this day—she is clearly meticulous about her designs, from sketches to production. “She legitimately sketches and designs all this stuff,” Brooke said. “Of all of my vendors—I have over 70—she is definitely the most artistic. She’s very into her craft in terms of being a designer.”
It shows. Alexa Leigh’s dainty little pieces are remarkable in that even though they are very simple, they feel extremely unique in design and make. It’s not something you could pick up at any store, and a big part of that is Alexa’s passion for creating sentimental pieces. She only uses symbols that mean something to her, and always names her designs after family members. (The brand-new mom warned that her new collection may feature rings called “poop face” and “noodle head.”)
“I love sentimental value in jewelry,” Alexa said. “My mom gave me a few pieces of hers and I loved that she had had them forever—it had so much more meaning than just some diamond I bought for myself. When you get them as a gift and there’s a story behind it I think it’s sweet.” That sentimentality and innocence actually shines through in her work—Brooke said that most customers who purchase Alexa’s jewelry buy them for loved ones. She often sees people buying them as mother-daughter gift sets or signs of friendship, and she even had one woman choose an Alexa Leigh ring as a gift for passing the BAR exam.
And even though Alexa’s aesthetic feels perfectly timed for this stacking and layering moment we’re in right now, that’s just what she’s been doing all along. When I asked her about making more cuffs or crawlers for the coveted earstack, she admitted those things are a little too trendy for her. “I try not to be too trendy because by the time I’ve designed it and perfected it and love it and then release it to the world, people are onto something different,” she said. “And if you’re going to buy gold and diamonds, you want something that’s going to last.”
“She won’t create something just because she thinks it’s going to sell,” Brooke said. “She won’t compromise the integrity of her craft.”
Alexa agreed that sometimes retailers will try to push for certain trendy items, and she won’t go that route. “I would have such a hard time promoting anything or selling it if I’m not excited about wearing it myself. For example, a little while ago, a lot of people were asking me body chains, but I’m like, “I am never going to wear a body chain.” And if you are going to wear one, you want one that’s maybe $50. That’s why I’m not going to go to my manufacturers and have them produce something that is custom-made and ends up costing $1000. Beyonce maybe, but I don’t know who else would buy that. Of course, if Beyonce asked me for a custom body chain I would do it in a heartbeat.”
Speaking of celebrity followers, Alexa has built up quite the Insta-cult in the fashion blogging world. “Sincerely Jules has been rocking the Elijo ring since before bloggers were big” said Brooke. “What’s amazing is she still wears it all the time, which I really appreciate because they get gifted everything under the sun. And now it’s not even gifting—you have to pay for them to wear it. So if they’re still wearing it in their pictures and posting about it, you know it’s because they really love it, which I love.” Other fans include The Glamorai, Ashley Tisdale, Rocky Barnes, Aimee Song, and many many others.
Alexa remembers her first big celebrity fan as being Miranda Kerr back in 2011. “Miranda Kerr wore some of my pieces and kept them after a photoshoot, and I thought the internet was going to break at the time. I found out about it, called my mom, she didn’t answer, called my dad, he didn’t answer, called my boyfriend, he didn’t answer. So I was literally just celebrating at my desk by myself, and was thinking, “It’s over. I should just start making millions of pieces. It’s all happening.” That’s…not exactly how it went down, but I was still very excited and flattered that she liked my stuff enough to want to keep it.”
Last but not least, I had to ask the queen herself her top three tips for layering and stacking. First, don’t be afraid to mix metals. “The best stacks and layers come when I mix metals and finishes,” she said. “Second, layering necklaces it’s all about proportions. Make sure each necklace is a slightly different length so that all the pieces are visible. I also like odd numbers, so go for three or five.” Finally, don’t try to do too much. “If you are going to stack and layer let the jewelry be the statement and keep the rest of the outfit classic and simple. A plain white t-shirt and jeans with a few layered necklaces is perfection!”