Alex Soldier prides himself on creating jewels that are miniature sculptures using techniques that he personally developed. A recent tour of his Manhattan showroom jammed with his jewelry pieces and objects of art show some of the details in his work.
Several of his jewels are developed in sections and then pieced together. There’s plenty of micro-quality work from pavé gem-setting to the carving of delicate lines into precious metals to give the piece a softer finish, resembling silk and cloth rather than hard metals. He will work with any and all types of metals and gems in multiple combinations; and he creates pieces that range from seemingly simple tags and lockets to elaborate brooches and necklaces. Flora and fauna are constant themes in his work. Soldier does the majority of the hand work himself, spending a great deal of time under the microscopic or using the other techniques he developed.
Since his techniques and inspirations vary it’s difficult to pinpoint a particular style for the jeweler. But there are some consistencies.
For example, many of his pieces use patterns encrusted with a variety of colorful pavé gems. He also uses heavily faceted colored gems, however, a few of his collections also use gems with a cabochon finish. In some cases the piece is designed so the metal patterns beneath a central gem can be seen through the gem, giving it a new visual appeal. Several of his pieces, particularly his flowers, often have movement. Everything he produces has a great level of detail and texture. When he’s not using paved gems to create texture he’s doing it with intricate lattice work, using space to create the same affect.
One of his best-known pieces is his snail rings. Each snail is embroidered with an assortment of precious gems that form a different color pattern. Every composition is further enhanced with final touches of fine texturing, hand-applied in several layers by Soldier.
Soldier’s strongest influence seem to stem from his native Russia, more specifically, the city of Perm in the remote Ural mountain region. It was there where he first worked as a jewelry designer in 1981, starting as an intern at the region’s largest jewelry plant and six months later becoming its chief designer.
He arrived in the United States in 1990 and since then has received recognition from several organizations for his contemporary jewelry in 18k gold and platinum with precious gemstones. He also received several commissions for various objects of art pieces where the same techniques he employs with his jewels are used for larger pieces, which serves as another example of his artistic approach to his work.