Michael Bruder Debuts Design to JCK Rock Star Judges in Episode 8

After a bumpy start in episode 3JCK Rock Star contestant Michael Bruder had never watched a reality TV show before participating in one—the New York City–based jeweler worked out a design plan with the assistance of Leila Tai Shenkin, Fashion Institute of Technology instructor and JCK‘s Rock Star advisor. The details are now available for viewing in episode 8.

Initially planning on combining both Art Nouveau and Art Deco design elements in one pendant necklace—a focal point drop featuring geometric shapes and curvaceous companion pieces on either side—Bruder abandoned the idea in favor of a simpler measure; he would produce only the focal point piece, against Shenkin’s advice. “I don’t think you should chop it,” she tells him, adding that it alone looked “flat.” Bruder’s response: “Her focus may be more on mass market [designs].” I’m not sure I agree with that assessment, since Shenkin’s personal portfolio of work is so high end—pliqué à jour enamel and 18k gold. Regardless, Bruder maintains that he wanted an “art piece,” and likely achieved that goal.

The finished product was a long, Art Deco–inspired sterling silver pendant necklace comprising eight different colors of Swarovski genuine topaz stones, four different shapes, and six different stone weights. Daniel Cohen—a member of the executive board of Swarovski and one of the Rock Star judges—appreciated Bruder’s “creative vision”; JCK editor in chief Victoria Gomelsky, also a judge, was wowed by the amount of colors he used. Overall, the assessment was that in Bruder’s effort to use more color than other contestants, he may have gone overboard design-wise, cramming too much into one piece. Still, Gomelsky issued one final compliment (with which I agree): “It feels like a painting,” she said. Bruder concurs, adding that he had been told the piece had a “Picasso-esqueness to it.”

And that Bruder confidence we witnessed in episode 3? It resurfaces here, when he tells viewers, “I had the right piece.”

I think he did, too. It’s a dramatic statement necklace ideal for standing alone, or for pairing with a small pair of colored stone stud earrings. I would definitely wear it.