by Smitha Sadanandan, Photos courtesy of Alison Lou


Lab-grown diamonds, natural gemstones, pearls elevate familiar motifs

Alison Chemla has been on a roll since she launched her first collection inspired by face emoticons and the “the deceptive simplicity of modern communication and beyond” – TEXT MESSAGES.

Lover Wrap Ring

She set a new standard in style with flirtatious faces, smileys, tear-eyed faces decked out across 14k gold rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces, while Emoticore remains a “thoughtful and cheeky commentary on the expression of feelings from the banal to the intimate through the language of emoticons.”

The Creative Director and Designer of Alison Lou has since brought out collections based on themes from Casino to Secret Garden and Pasta, and her design ethos remains playful in its approach.


Tear Huggie Blue Sapphire

The jewellery brand based in New York City has now launched a new line – In Our Feelings, and she revisits the faces and designs that have become Alison Lou signature pieces.

This time around, the emoticon faces have been reimagined to feature specially cut lab-grown and natural gemstones to elevate each style. Of the lip-shaped lab gems, Alison says that “it took time to get the shape right and we love how they came out.”

The hero piece of the collection is the Feelings Wheel which features a spinnable wheel of emotions and a moveable hand that points to each feeling.

Smooch Necklace and In Your Feels Wheel Necklace

The wheel pendant is outlined by a pavé of lab-created rubies, emeralds, pink and blue sapphires, yellow citrine and amethyst – and has hand-painted multicolour enamel.

With the demand for pearls on the rise, the designer now offers a variety of styles that feature pearls and these pieces have become a new staple to the world of Alison Lou.

Lover Pearl Drop Earring

What led you toward jewellery?

I have always had a strong love of jewellery. Since I was young, I would always receive jewellery as gifts which would commemorate special moments in my life. This inspired me to start my own brand, Alison Lou, eleven years ago. I knew when I came into this space it had to be special and different. My first collection was called Emoticore, which focused on using jewellery as a form of communication. A true connection between the piece and the client. I have learned over the years how to draw, I have gotten my GIA certification in diamonds and coloured stones, and I work very closely with our manufacturing to make sure every piece is to my standards. We take great pride in our production and proudly make everything in New York City.

Tear Ring

When did you find your niche in jewellery? What prompted the return to the first collection?

When Emoticore first launched, it was inspired by using emojis to communicate but also the connection you had with specific faces and feelings. I would use a certain face to talk to my best friends, my boyfriend, my family. They had meaning and added depth to your words. I knew it would feel very fresh to have these faces that you could wear and would speak for you, especially when they were in 14k yellow gold and diamonds. I love having a playful but luxurious approach to my designs.

Lip Huggie Pink Sapphire and Lip Huggie Ruby

How have you managed to keep the prices affordable?

We are always mindful of cost when creating new pieces and collections. I want to be approachable luxury. Yes, we can be aspirational, but I would love for everyone to own a piece of Alison Lou. One way we achieve this is by working with lab created coloured stones, which you see a lot of in our bestselling Cocktail Collection. So, price is definitely a big factor as are the colours and clarity we can achieve with lab versus natural – it gives us the ability to be more accessible.

Junk Food By the Yard Bracelet

You use enamel quite a lot. What sparked the idea to use enamel for pops of colour?

I have always loved colour and enamel has been a part of my collections since the very beginning. When I started enamel was not as popular as it is today. People were wary about it, but it is such an amazing technique. Our enamel is all hand-painted by truly talented artisans. I think it is such a fun way to add colour without using stones and the colour options are endless!

So Much Love Pearl Necklace

How did freshwater pearls become an Alison Lou staple?

Pearls have become very popular in our collections since Groovy. We saw such a lovely reaction to our pearl pieces – specifically, the necklaces and have continued to incorporate them in each collection moving forward. I love how pearls used to feel “old” and now they feel fresh and new. I love layering them with my gold necklaces. It instantly adds interest to your outfit.

More information is available here.

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