Cuff links, milk and cookies…many things in life are better in pairs. When we heard Jesse Marlo Lazowski of Marlo Laz and Alina Abegg were inseparable friends, we decided it was about time a BFF shoot came to life. Alina’s collection is eye-catching and tongue-in-cheek with alien and cosmic motifs. We’re excited to watch her designs evolve. Each Marlo Laz piece feels like a bohemian antique updated for modern life and we love the vibrant precious stones. They share inspiration and support around founding their own jewelry lines and travel the world together.
The duo invited us to Jesse’s eclectic, worldly Bond Street lot, which is filled with one-of-a-kind treasures from her gypset-style travels (a passion Alina shares). There’s even a showstopping Backgammon table, which is filled with their jewels. Goals. It’s all fun and games, but Jesse and Alina are ladies of substance with serious jewelry. Enjoy this exclusive mix of conversation, gems, and interiors. -Jenna Wise for The Stone Set
How did you meet? Give us the download on your friendship.
Alina: I remember meeting Jesse through mutual friends while travelling to NY. We were having lunch and at some point and Jesse walked in decked out in her own jewellery creations. I remember being so fascinated by her bohemian look, head to toe in her designs. We immediately connected over gems and jewels and I must admit that she was one of the people that inspired me to eventually launch my own brand!
Jesse: We have such a special friendship that is both personal and professional – we can talk collections by day and boogie at night. Despite living on different continents, we see each other monthly and speak daily, supporting each other through the thick and thin of being creatives and entrepreneurs. Alina’s spirit, kindness, and creativity never cease to amaze me. We seize any opportunity to go gem hunting together and to promote each other’s brands.
You’re both incredibly well-traveled. What are your favorite destinations and how has travel shaped you?
Jesse & Alina: We both have a case of the travel bug. Every Fashion Week we do New York and Paris as we are presenting our collections, which is always followed by our annual Moroccan hiatus together. Summers are about Formentera, Nantucket and wherever else the sun leads us.
We love gem hunting in Arizona and road tripping through Santa Fe and the American Southwest as well as our adventures to unique destinations like James Turrell installations in Zuoz, Switzerland and beyond. We are both endlessly curious and have all of these incredible shared experiences. What’s cool is these shared adventures inspire us in very different ways that ultimately deeply inform our collections and state of mind.
Why are you passionate about jewelry and what do your brands represent?
Alina: I use jewellery as an expression of creativity. I’m very passionate about creating a world that people can escape into. My first collection is 90s inspired with cosmic elements so it really plays into this concept. I plan to have this carry over into different themes in my collections in the future. The stones are precious and for many people have a special meaning. My brand is an expression of daydreams and nostalgia while maintaining luxury. We want people to be able to express themselves without compromising on quality.
Jesse: The Marlo Laz world is a place where the free-spirited and curiously minded meet. Our jewellery is made in the spirit of La Trouvaille – precious pieces and modern heirlooms that are meant to feel like a lucky discovery and unexpected find. We want to spread the (porte) bonheur – through our jewels. I look at jewellery as a means of empowering people to live in a certain state of mind – for us that is a positive one full of love, luck and light.
What are signature pieces that you wear every day? What’s coming up?
Alina: I love designing rings and earrings and also tend to mix and match them. I always encourage my clients to play with the collection and not necessarily stick to the norm of wearing a pair of earrings that match. It’s fun to wear one earring of longer length with something shorter such as the Saturn Chains earring and Micro Alien Hoop (my favourite combination). That’s the reason why all earrings can be purchased individually as well as in pairs on my website AlinaAbegg.com. My new collection continues the story of 90s nostalgia transforming hand cut rock crystals into psychedelic kaleidoscopes and sapphires into colour-changing mood rings. All I can say about the next collection is that it is literally going to be a real “treat.”
Jesse: From the mountains to the city, you’ll always bump into me wearing my bespoke 5-coin La Trouvaille 5-Coin necklace. It’s my ultimate talisman and personal armour. My arms are all about stacks and stacks of Marlo Laz bracelets. On one side you’ll find our Porte Bonheur cuffs and most recently on the other our Squash Blossom Bead bracelets – metals are always mixed.
For rings, I’m all about our Brazilian jade eye and diamond and pearl Full Circle rings, whereas my earring lineup in more up in the air. At the moment, I’m alternating between our Squash Blossom and Open Heart earrings as well as our Full Circle hoops (I prefer the large). When I’m craving a sleek, refined look, the Magic Wands come into play.
Jesse, tell us about your home style and love of interiors. Do you collect anything? We love your Backgammon game table.
Jesse: My mum is an incredibly talented interior designer, so I was fortunate to grow up exposed to her unique eye that ultimately fostered an appreciation for beautiful design and objects. I collect absolutely everything, from stamps on my passports, and heart-shaped trinkets that Nini (my grandmother) and I gift each other, to ceramics from international artists discovered during my travels.
In regards to backgammon, I’ve been known to host and win a tournament or two. It’s the only sport (with the exception of tennis) that I have any skill at. In fact, my mum and I plan to launch a line of backgammon tables at some point, hopefully in the near future, and Alina and I also have a backgammon related project in the works. You could say it’s a bit of an obsession, and you’ve heard it here first.
Alina, your little aliens and UFOs are the coolest. What draws you to the cosmic?
Alina: I am a very nostalgic person who loves and is inspired by my childhood since I have grown up within the 90s. My Alien ring is inspired by one of those plastic alien rings that I played with as a kid in the 90s. I thought that it would be fun to elevate the product by using 18 karat gold and colourful gemstones. I am currently working on my next big collection that I am planning to launch in early 2019. Again some pieces will be quite literal, however the rest of the collection will be sculptural.
What’s something about you that no one would know?
Alina: I speak three languages. People are usually surprised that one of them is Italian. Sorpresa!
Jesse: My first foray into the world of jewellery was actually at the age of thirteen. I had a company called SHOPGIRL and my collection consisted of hand-beaded pieces of jewellery that I sold locally in Connecticut. Our hit piece was a chunky turquoise collar that to this day is still one of my all-time favourites.
What have been the most exciting moments? What have you learned along the way?
Alina: The most exciting part of the entire process has never changed for me. It is the very first moment when I go to the workshop to view my ideas that have been turned into new/finished creations this to me is the most exciting and fulfilling part. Recently I have been travelling from Marakesch back to Europe on the plane the lady that was sitting next to me immediately approached me and recognized the alien ring that I have been wearing, as her daughter-in-law owned one. That response is very gratifying as it is important to me to turn my passion for creating jewellery into a successful business at the end of the day.
Jesse: Nothing makes me happier than to witness my friends and family, from my grandmother to my mom, aunties, and dear friends, rocking their Marlo Laz pieces that truly empower them. There’s been a lot of very special moments – from making bespoke earrings for my dear friend Whitney Wolfe Herd’s nuptials to receiving an email that former President Clinton was placing an order for an anniversary present for Hillary. We’ve done pieces for Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and other trailblazing females and special engagement rings for brides-to-be.
Being able to support causes that are important to me through the sale of our jewellery including (but not limited to) the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the United States Holocaust Museum, and Ballroom Marfa is so exciting and important to me. Ultimately, I feel so lucky to wake up every day, love what I do, and hopefully make people feel good through their jewellery. That is the most exciting of all.
Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set