For as long as she can remember, OVS junior Alexa Jennings has been obsessed with Betty Belts jewelry.
She is drawn to the Ventura company’s rough-hewn, ocean-inspired image. And she is enamored with the beauty of the jewelry itself, unique pieces that are highly sought after by perennially stylish teens and adults alike.
But Alexa was not fond of the price tag on many of these pieces, some of which put the jewelry out of reach for young people like her.
So she decided to do something about it.
Pulling inspiration from the oceanic Betty Belts, Alexa in her freshmen year began making her own jewelry, cultivating over the years a minimalist, nature-inspired style.
Using semi-precious stones, sea glass and a complex method of wire work called cageing, she developed her own brand, currently called Sea Stone.
But Sea Stone was not always what it is today.
“I started by making really crappy, breakable, not good jewelry,” Alexa said. “I used to sell it at flea markets and street fairs.”
She then decided to change everything and start with a different style, growing her skills over time and taking her work off the streets and into shops.
At the start of Alexa’s sophomore year she began selling her jewelry at the local Ojai shop, blanchesylvia. Alexa and shop owner Jennie Prebor met at a soccer game, where Prebor’s son and Alexa’s younger brother were playing.
After having heard from Alexa’s mom and then seeing in person some of Alexa’s work, Prebor was more than happy to showcase Alexa’s jewelry.
“Of course, I am always looking for new work to show and sell at the shop!” said Prebor. “Alexa has been selling her jewelry at blanchesylvia for about a year or more now. Her line is the most popular…that the shop shows.”
Named for Prebor’s mother and grandmother, blanchesylvia is a boutique shop in the downtown Arcade that is an ode to the creative, individual, one-of-a-kind piece.
Alexa’s jewelry exemplifies this ideal.
“I created my own kind of vibe,” Alexa said. “None of my pieces are ever the same.”
Jewelry is one of the most versatile forms of artistic expression. With ever-changing color, style and material jewelry can be tailored to the wearer.
Handmade jewelry is especially expressive, taking on unique personalities of its own and finding its way to the wearer seemingly at just the right time. But while each piece is unique there is an unquestionable shine of the original maker, an undeniable stamp of their own brand of creative.
Alexa’s real and genuine love for her work is evident in her jewelry.
Her passion shows through in clean precise work and speaks to the people buying it. She aims for beauty and has an incredible path open before her.
“[Alexa] has the potential to develop her jewelry design and her craft in hand making jewelry,” Prebor said, “as well as create a lifestyle brand that could include her ‘curating’ a selection of products made by other designers that have the same spirit as her own designs.”
As a junior the possibility of pursuing a career in jewelry and curating a brand are definitely ideas to begin to consider. Alexa hopes to study business, marketing and fashion, all fields of study that would perfectly fit an extending of her brand.
“I want to create a website to sell more than jewelry, like home decor, artwork, photography and maybe a bit of retail called Alexa’s Room,” Alexa said. “I’d really love being able to run my own business.”
The beauty of Alexa’s position is the possibilities for the future are endless, she can follow her passions, she can continue to build her own brand.
“I love doing it and I love creating,” she said.Share