Alison Jefferies is a custom jeweler and couture bridal accessories designer based in Baltimore, MD, USA, where she and her business, J'Adorn Designs, call home. Originally a self-taught jewelry designer, she has expanded her repertoire of skills to include fine jewelry and custom constructions through continued education in metalsmithing and stone setting. She strives to empower women from every walk of life to celebrate the important moments in their lives with tangible, timeless, and meticulously handcrafted adornments.
What are you best known for?
My custom accessory clients know me best for my warm and intuitive customer service and excellent craftsmanship of their commissioned projects. My potential clients who have come across J'Adorn Designs online know me for bridal accessories and upscale custom designs for both weddings and major life events. My designs are known for their combination of elegance, simplicity, botanical elements, comfortability, and quality craftsmanship. My TuesdaysTogether community knows me for my empathy and desire to make our resources available to everyone in the group. They know me for my genuine interest in how each of them are doing on a personal and professional level and for my willingness to share my own expertise with them. My friends and family know me for my empathetic and sensitive nature, my passion for women's rights and equality, my quirky sense of humor, my love of world languages and cultures (I'm fluent in German!), and for my undying love/obsession with bunnies (my own rabbit Peter Bun being at the top of that list!) My hope is that everyone who knows me will know me as a trustworthy and caring person with a love for life and desire to share that love with them in tangible and intangible ways. I hope that the world knows me as an ally who looks for opportunities to serve them and make their lives better.
What or who has influenced your design aesthetic the most?
- My clients: The custom designs that my private commission clients ask for will often show up in my next collection! I try to listen to what my niche is asking for, and I've found that if one person expresses interest in a piece, chances are there are more out there who haven't even asked yet!
-Timeless design elements that stand the test of time as heirlooms, combined with current fashions and color combinations. I look to our grandmothers' jewelry boxes and the treasures passed down from them just as much as I peruse fashion forecasts and trends on Pinterest.
- My garden and the natural world: I mentioned before that I spend a lot of time in my garden. The color combinations and textures that I see on the petals and leaves in my garden will often catch my attention and inspire an idea for a new piece of jewelry. I also incorporate direct representations of plants in some of my work, as seen most often in my bridal headpieces which feature my signature ""berry sprig"" accents made with freshwater pearls or crystals. The concept of a living organism representing a relationship or family has also been a common theme for my work. I actually just completed a five year anniversary necklace commission that featured 5 gemstones, each representing an important date in their family's growth, on a sterling silver branch with leaves and twigs."
What inspired you to become a designer?
My life as a jewelry designer began in 2011 when I got married and moved to a new city. While planning my wedding, I was frustrated with the low quality and high price tag of the jewelry available in the bridal shops and boutiques where I shopped. So, I decided to make coordinated sets of jewelry for my own bridesmaids. I am proud to say they still enjoy wearing their custom jewelry to this day! I moved from Philadelphia to Baltimore immediately after my wedding and self-educated in jewelry design as a creative outlet while I furiously sent out applications into the bleak job market. At the same time, a lot of my friends were planning their own weddings and had taken notice of the bridesmaids' jewelry I made for my wedding attendants. I offered to do the same for them in lieu of a wedding gift, building my design portfolio, and launched J'Adorn Designs as an online handcrafted jewelry line in early 2012.
I quietly grew my business on the side of other part-time jobs until Spring 2015 when I made the leap to full-time. Since then, I've invested in my own education by taking metalsmithing and stone-setting classes at a local jewelry school, which has enabled me to achieve my goal of making J'Adorn Designs a studio where people can come with practically any idea and have it come to life through my hands. So to be honest, my initial motivation was more one of "making lemonade" of my job prospects during the Great Recession. But in hindsight, I think it may have been the best thing to ever happen to me because it gave me the push I needed to pursue what I always knew to be my life's calling from childhood - to become an artist! As I've dug deeper into this life as an artist and into my specific craft of jewelry making, the motivation that's remained constant is a desire to help other people celebrate the important moments in their lives. I help them honor pivotal moments, from the big ones they expect (like a marriage or birth of a new child) to the ones that they didn't expect or even want but that became a defining moment of triumph (like losing a parent or finding their inner strength after a divorce). These are the defining moments of our lives, which become the defining moments of our shared stories as families, communities, and cultures. By creating heirlooms, I have the honor of helping people preserve and celebrate these stories through the ages.