Presley Oldham’s Precious Pearl Jewellery Is Handmade in New Mexico

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Presley Oldham Ted Oldham Pearl Jewellery
Presley OldhamCourtesy of Presley Oldham

Presley Oldham – the nephew of American fashion designer Todd Oldham – is celebrating a family heritage with his own namesake label

  1. Who is it? Presley Oldham is creating delicate pearl jewellery by hand in the mountains of New Mexico
  2. Why do I want it? Family heritage, craft, and a sustainable mindset meet with genderless design
  3. Where can I find it? Online at

Who is it? Presley Oldham grew up in Dallas, Texas, born into a family of creatives. His uncle, the fashion designer Todd Oldham, who rose to prominence in the early 1980s, owned a factory there, where his other family members helped to produce the kitschy and colourful designs he is known for. “It’s where I spent my early days after school and all that jazz,” says the younger Oldham. “It was a big family business! I was steeped in that world from the beginning and it was all I knew.”

When Oldham grew up, however, he pursued an interest in theatre, moving to New York to study at NYU. But the lure of working with clothing and textiles soon called him back: “Once I got to college I also began working for my uncle, archiving and cataloguing his couture fashion from the 1990s.” It was here that Oldham became inspired to follow in his uncle’s footsteps, founding a namesake label. “I began crafting to every degree,” he explains. “I was making clothes, jewellery, you name it ...”

Today, Oldham resides in LA, but has been quarantining in the Santa Fe mountains. While he still intends to pursue a career in acting, he has been carrying on the Presley Oldham label, too, whiling away the hours making delicate pearl jewellery by hand. He initially started selling these pieces as a way to raise money for food banks and to gift his closest friends, but enjoyed producing them so much that they are now the current focus of his brand.

Oldham cites the likes of Alexander McQueenCindy Sherman and Pina Bausch as inspiration, and has previously worked with Ludovic de Saint Sernin to create clothing-cum-jewellery for his runway shows. “I have dance training, so what I learned in the dance world provides a lot of texture to my designs,” he says. “It brought me into my body in a different way. I’m actually working on a project now that involves dance and jewellery – it’s an easy connection for me to make.”

Why do I want it? Each piece of pearl jewellery that Oldham crafts by hand is entirely unique. “I’m not mass producing, which to me, is the real beauty of it,” says Oldham of his sustainable mindset. The pearls themselves are sourced from second-hand flea markets – such as the Chelsea flea in New York and LA’s Rose Bowl – and also pertain to the Oldham family history. “I collect a lot of things – so does my uncle, so does my dad, and so does my grandfather. I grew up going to flea markets and still do. I would buy from these vendors that I made friends with there.” Oldham has also turned to his grandmother to obtain some of the pearls, who still has leftovers stashed away from when she made headpieces for Todd Oldham’s couture show in 1999. “20 years later I feel very fortunate to use them – I love the circularity of it all,” he says. 

Despite pearls having a loaded cultural history of being demure and ‘ladylike’, Oldham doesn’t see them as such. “I hesitate to put a gender on them, and that’s what excites me,” he says. “I like that male-identifying people are drawn to the jewellery. Some people think that wearing pearls as a guy is subversive – which is funny to me! There are so many social standards around pearls and cultural ideas about them. But it doesn’t have to be labelled – anyone can put my jewellery on and feel elevated and good about themselves.”

Where can I find it? Online at