02/22/2012 02:46 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

New Inspiration, New Designs

I'm currently working to design the Jordan Alexander Spring/Summer collection for 2012. I love this stage of development because I do most of my designing in LA -- one of my favorite places to visit and work. On this trip to LA to work with my craftsmen, I stopped in Tucson for the annual American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) show. This was my first visit to the show, and to Tucson, so I was excited to see what all the buzz was about.

I don't think I was prepared for the vastness of the exhibit. The show was huge. Imagine a conference center filled with hundreds of vendors and booths of product in every direction. Everything was there in one place -- precious diamonds and stones, pearls, geodes, silver, gold -- and anything you could possibly imagine. I'm always interested in the breadth of materials that's available. I'm always seeking out the next new thing that I can incorporate into my line as it grows. The inspiration was limitless. I also loved seeing the wonderful mixture of people from all over the world. But, my favorite part was seeing the ones I have come to know in this business and getting to spend time with some of them.

In all of this sensory overload, I was also searching for the beautiful pearls I use in my designs. They were there -- sprinkled at booths throughout the center. However, it wasn't until the last day that I stumbled upon a wonderful treasure. Tucked away at the end of the hall was a man from China who had established a wholesale pearl business here in the States. By far, he had the most, and the prettiest pearls in Tucson. He had pearls in all different shapes, sizes, qualities and colors. They were hanging on strands, loose in small containers, any way you could think of them. The pearls were simply lovely, but so was this charming gentleman who helped introduce these particular pearls to the international market. He told me how he had worked on his pearl farm for 40 years and about the process he had painstakingly refined to perfect his pearls. He told how the pearls would incubate for different lengths of times and in different types of water. The way they would naturally develop was always something unique -- they get prettier with each harvest. Today, these large, baroque pearls are even more gorgeous than when I first started designing with them, which was even before I officially launched Jordan Alexander.

In the short time I was able to spend with him, I began to realize how much potential there is as a designer. As new design trends emerge, I'm challenged to find those items and materials that inspire my creativity, and incorporate them into my designs. Speaking with this gentleman made me realize how rare the pearls really are and reaffirmed how I love working with them. When I launched the line, I had no idea how they would come to be an integral part of the Jordan Alexander brand.

I left Tucson, headed for LA, knowing that my new line, which I'll introduce in May, will stay true to Jordan Alexander's core by incorporating new, fresh materials with these amazing pearls. In this line, I'm working with 14 and 18 carat gold and expanding on current designs to give them a fresh feel. No spoilers, but I'm using chain in various lengths, shapes and sizes to expand on some of our best-sellers. I'm also excited to be incorporating new color and texture into the line in the upcoming season. As always, I'm hopeful that fans of the Jordan Alexander line will embrace this new collection with open arms.