If there’s one thing college teaches us it’s that in order to be happy, we must follow our dreams. Or maybe that was Walt Disney? …Either way, that’s exactly what Ali Grace did when she graduated from SMU in May. Grace created her own jewelry line, and made it into a prominent business. Here’s an inside look at this former SMU Collegiate’s jewels:
Tell us a little about your jewelry line.
Ali Grace Jewelry is my line! I am a designer from Newport Beach, California. My designs remain true to my California roots. Natural stones are accented with diamonds, 14kt gold, sterling silver and brass. My jewelry is loved by all ages because it is both timeless and modern.
When did you start designing jewelry?
My mom gave me my first set of plastic beads at the age of four. Every picture from my childhood shows me wearing stacks of rainbow beaded necklaces and bracelets. When I was very young I set up lemonade stands except I sold jewelry instead of lemonade. Around the age of nine I began using semi-precious stones. I would call and make appointments with my mom’s friends around the neighborhood to sell jewelry. At the age of fourteen I began selling my jewelry to retail stores. A’maree’s in Newport Beach, CA was my first account, and I still sell there today!
What jewelry designers do you admire today?
Irene Neuwirth is my favorite jewelry designer. I love her designs because she uses stones in their natural beauty. Her attention to detail is beautiful. Every piece of hers has a one-of-a-kind feeling. She is also from Southern California!
Where do you draw inspirations for your designs?
I draw inspiration from nature, especially the beach. Living in California has greatly impacted my designs. I love the ocean and the reflections from the water’s surface. The natural stones I use are influenced by my life at the beach. Aquamarine and labradorite are two of my favorite stones because the way each stone picks up light and reflects different colors; it’s reminiscent of the ocean.
Do you make all the jewelry yourself?
I design and make all of my jewelry myself. I love finding stones and beads to create unique pieces. I feel that I have truly designed my jewelry because I have crafted the pieces with my own hands.
Is there a single item you’ve designed that is your favorite?
I love all of my jewelry, but currently my favorite piece is my crystal and brass necklace. This piece can be worn with a t-shirt or a dress. It looks great worn on its own or layered with other pieces. Sometimes I even wear multiple crystal necklaces at once.
You’ve got us sold. how can we get a hold of your creations?!
Ali Grace Jewelry is available at select stores in California in Texas. My website, www.aligracejewelry.com has a list of stocklists that carry my collection. Soon, you will be able to visit my site and shop online. Since this is an article for HerCampus SMU I would recommend shopping at Studio Sebastian in Snider Plaza in Dallas. The store has a great selection of my jewelry. You can find my favorite crystal necklaces along with tons of bracelets perfect for stacking.