This story first appeared in the October 27, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
That’s how Alex Woo described Origins, her pendant line launched this month, executed in 18-karat gold and diamonds.
It’s a prequel to her signature Icons collection, which features lowercase letter pendants and quirky designs like numbers, animals, collegiate logos and more. Origins takes inspiration from the Renaissance era, with uppercase letters in an Old English font, but pieces in Origins are related to the Icons line.
Origins necklaces are formed in a half-egg shape, a nod to Woo’s background in sculpture. Each pendant is decorated on both sides; on one half, a diamond-encrusted letter, on the other, a motif of engraved designs — all of which come from an Icons piece. The letter A and an engraving in Origins, for example, is related to, say, an apple in the Icons group. “It really is the origins of what the icons are, and from where they evolved,” Woo said.
The new line also marks Woo’s first foray into the fine jewelry market. “We wanted to be high-end, and go back to traditions of more classic jewelry,” she said. “That’s why we went into 18-karat gold — it’s heavier, it’s yellower and it’s got a nice, heavy feeling to it.”
Available on her Web site, each Origins piece is made to order, and can take four to six weeks to produce. Prices range from $5,898 to $7,298. By comparison, Icons letter pendants range from $158 to $898, depending on metal and embellishment.
“As the category of personalization continues to grow in the luxury market, our clientele is also growing with us,” she added. “There is more demand for something special, unique and bespoke. This collection is not for everyone, it’s for a very special and niche clientele who may already have everything but is looking for a future heirloom. Since there is a higher level of service and customization with each design, we conservatively project [Origins will generate] 10 to 15 percent of our sales.”
Woo hopes the new collection will attract more luxury-focused women. “We’ve had a lot of people who have purchased our pieces as gifts but hopefully now they’ll buy for themselves,” she said. “The woman who wears this collection owns a lot of jewelry and is a lover of jewelry. She may not have had my pieces before, so this can be brand new to her.”
The goal, Woo said, is to have both collections sit together in harmony. “Even though this collection is such a different price point from what I have now, I still want people to look at it and say, ‘That’s an Alex Woo piece.’”