Nina Basharova is an award-winning designer—she’s collected 18 awards in just four years—but despite all of that talent and recognition, the New York City-based jeweler still had the jitters when it came to participating in the JCK Rock Star competition.
“Do I feel pressure?” she asks in episode no. 7. “What’s stronger than pressure … crush? Yes!”
She had two ideas for a piece incorporating Swarovski genuine gemstones. One involved using her signature Barbed Wire motif. But Fashion Institute of Technology instructor and Rock Star advisor Leila Tai Shenkin was not impressed: “Barbed wire symbolizes prison,” she says in the episode. “But her other idea was much better.”
Basharova’s fallback—a ring made in the shape of Swarovski’s Trilight cut stones (a type of trillion that is available in stones from 3 mm to 6 mm in size)—was “not very impressive,” she says to Shenkin.
“It’s not about glamour, it’s about execution,” Shenkin replies. “Definitely think about it.”
Basharova did, choosing to make it for her design, and then ran into difficulties in the execution. “My models failed twice, and then my stones didn’t fit,” she explains. Another problem was the amount of time given to complete the project. “It was way too short,” she says.
In the end, though, the piece she showed judges was good: well-thought out, well executed, fun, versatile—it could transform from a ring to a pendant—and completely unique. Basharova’s Trilight cut-inspired ring was made in palladium to “work with the cleanliness of the look,” says the designer.
After sketching the Trilight shape numerous times, Basharova decided to mimic it in the piece in addition to setting Trilight stones at every junction. “The stones are three sided so the ring will be all three sides, and on each side a triangular stone,” she explains.
Basharova set tiny round yellow, pink, and Paraiba-colored Swarovski topaz on multiple sides of the skinny, flat metal areas, adding extra color and interest, and allowing it be worn in a variety of different ways to show off all the different stones.
“I love the geometry of it—so big and yet so light—and that she used palladium,” says JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky. But she added one caveat (with which I agree): “I wish there had been more color.”
“You took the parameters and really worked outside the box and created something entirely new and different,” says Daniel Cohen, a member of the executive board of Swarovski and the great grandson of the company founder, Daniel Swarovski. “I liked the multi-dimensionality of it, but there’s probably some more work to go from concept phase.”
“What would pricing be?” asks Randi Udell-Alper, vice president of London Jewelers, headquartered in Manhasset, N.Y.
Overall, the debut seemed to be a success.
And now? More waiting, until the other designers reveal their creations.
“Will I win? Will I lose?” Basharova wonders, before conceding: “Participation has already been a win.”