In Episode 11 of JCK Rock Star, New York City-based jewelry designer Alex Woo revealed her biggest competition fears—time, and the Swarovski Passion Cut Topaz! (Woo is known for her sweetly styled charms dusted with diamonds in 14k gold and silver.)
“I don’t use a lot of colored stones, and we don’t have much time left to finish this whole project,” Woo tells JCK TV viewers. “I want to come up with something amazing.”
Then there are the nerves: presenting the piece to Daniel Cohen of Swarovski Gems, Randi Udell-Alper of London Jewelers, and JCK editor in chief Victoria Gomelsky.
But after getting a vote of confidence from FIT instructor and Rock Star advisor Leila Tai Shenkin, who called Woo’s idea to create a colorful lantern inspired by a trip to Morocco “a great idea,” Woo felt more at ease. Plus, Cohen was already a fan of Woo’s niche. “Cultural diversity through the travel theme—that’s great,” he tells viewers.
She proceeded with the idea, first sketching a pair of earrings before realizing that a pendant might be a better option. She added cutouts that mimicked the tile work of the Hassan II mosque—the biggest in Casablanca, located on the Atlantic Ocean—and added blue and green stones to reflect the water. But when she started making that piece, it required two halves to be constructed and soldered together, and Woo realized there was an opportunity to make something extra special. To “add an element of surprise,” as Woo told the judges, she added a hinge so the lantern pendant would open, and tucked a tiny paper scroll inside, wrapped in a bow of Lilliputian proportions. The message spoke to the designer’s unique Rock Star experience.
“To be a star, you must shine your own light and not worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest.”
The reviews were raves.
“Really nice!” said Cohen.
“It was a wonderful way that you tied the whole thing together,” added Udell-Alper.
“This is my story but if you can make it your story, why not?” Woo said. “I would love for customers to customize their own message and write it themselves.”
“It’s very saleable how you can interact with what you want to write on the scroll,” continued Udell-Alper. “It’s a great selling point.”