Four Seasons Magazine: Gifts That Give

“Whether shopping for yourself or for a friend, start with chic and charitable gifts that do a world of good,” like our Sweni Bangle that benefits the African Wildlife Foundation as featured in Four Seasons Magazine, which can be found in every Four Seasons Resort and Hotel!

1968 Magazine – Interview: Jewelry Designer Alex Woo

Apprenticeships are a tradition as old as civilization, and are arguably still the best way to learn a craft. But it is better still when that craft is learned from family. Alex Woo learned the art of jewelry design at the knee of her father, a master bench jeweller, and grew up learning all things gems, precious metals, and expert craftsmanship. Since those early years she has taken that appreciation and become an internationally-acclaimed jewelry designer. Born and raised in New York City she studied Fine Arts and Jewelry Design at an Ivy League University before moving to Paris to study abroad. Back in NYC she opened a Manhattan studio and showroom and now, with over a decade in the industry under her belt, has traveled around the world for inspiration and has won highly prestigious awards such as the JCK Show Design Centre’s Rising Star. Each piece remains handcrafted (and often signed) by Woo, designed to evoke the strength in every woman while staying rooted in her femininity.
How would you describe yourself as a designer?
I would say I’m very nurturing and detail oriented. My line is such a big part of who I am, so I treat each new piece like it’s my baby. I’m involved in the process start to finish, so when one is finally complete, it’s a great feeling.

How would you describe the aesthetic of your designs?
I love clean and modern designs.  Whether in interior design, or clothes, I have such an appreciation for classic and timeless styles, so these are all aspects that I incorporate into my collections. In addition to that, I love to tell stories through my designs, and represent different facets of all women. In doing that, I have also been lucky to hear stories from women who have worn my designs for different reasons than my original inspiration. It’s wonderful to hear feedback and suggestions from all my customers and that sometimes inspires my next designs.

How do you find a balance between sleekness, strength, and delicacy in your work?
I think the most important aspect about being a designer is staying true to yourself and your aesthetic. Sometimes a design is re-done 50 times until I feel it’s perfect. My designs are all an extension of who I am, so it’s important that they reflect my vision.

In your travels, has any one place continued to give you inspiration?
My inspiration is drawn from all over; anything from the elements in my everyday life to experiences during international travels. Being a native New Yorker has always given me the inspiration I’ve needed to create my collections. With amazing energy and a vibrant aspect of the city, I’m constantly inspired by my surroundings, by the people, and of course – the great food!  I’ll admit that some of my most creative moments have been on trips to places like Morocco and Macchu Picchu. But more and more, I have been drawing inspiration from my audience, and those who wear my jewelry. Just as I am growing and evolving as an artist, my audience is doing the same. It’s these stories that have now influenced and inspired me to be able to create jewelry that reflects life through design.

How does living and working in NYC inspire you?
My workshop, showroom and studio are in the heart of New York – more notably, across from Rockefeller Centre. As a born and bred New Yorker, I only felt it appropriate that my jewelry is also made here, as my philosophy is that if someone wears my brand, they are supporting an essential part of this great city.  This is why we re-branded our logo 2 years ago with “Made in New York” as an essential element of the design. That being said, I love that everything is so central and easily accessible in New York. If I need inspiration, it’s all at my fingertips; from 5th Ave to Soho.

How did it feel to win such a prestigious award as the Rising Star award from JCK Show Design Centre?
I use it as motivation and fuel to move forward and continue what I’m doing. It’s this vote of confidence and support that really makes this work so exciting and rewarding. It’s like someone saying that they believe in you; keep doing what you’re doing. It’s very encouraging and I am always thankful.

You proudly display customer stories/experiences on your website; how are you able to maintain a connection with so many people?
Jewelry is the best story teller and being able to have my fans tell their stories through my pieces always brings a smile to my face.  Whether a gift or a self purchase, the wonderful thing about my jewelry is that it is usually purchased to commemorate a special moment in your life, or represent something meaningful. Being able to share and take part in these women’s lives is so touching and meaningful to me as a designer. One of my favourite stories is Julie. She’s actually in the What’s Your Icon video on my website – and she shared a story with me that was beyond what I ever would have imagined. Many times, people wear my little numbers because it’s their lucky number, or it’s their favourite number, but she had a number 8 because she had to get a rare medical procedure which included a liver and stem cell transplant; and later learned that she was the 8th living survivor. It’s these amazing stories that make what I do all the more special. Another supporter with a great story has been Christina Applegate. She has worn a Little Letter S to keep her daughter close to heart, but also some of my other designs; as well as the one we collaborated on to support her foundation. Right Action for Women. My customer is classic, but she’s modern and bold enough to share her personal story through her jewelry. No matter what age the customer (and I sell to a wide demographic), all these women share these very qualities.

You proudly support local talent and charities; how important is it to you to continue doing so?
As an American Made company, we proudly support local talent and better business practices. It allows for each of my pieces to be selected from 100% sustainable, premium precious metals from American refineries and imported conflict-free diamonds. I know that if businesses like mine don’t support them, we will slowly start losing this skilled labor to other parts of the world, and this is something that we can’t let happen. It’s personally important to me that we support and cultivate this local talent.

What made you realize that something needed to be done to support better business practices?
As the child of an immigrant who came to America to achieve his American dream, being fortunate enough to live here was something that was instilled in me. Growing up, we tried to buy American made cars and always support local businesses. It became second nature to the way I grew up, and having a sense of pride in what we owned and where it came from was important. As a minority female entrepreneur, I now feel that it’s also my opportunity to support that same feeling in what I do.  My office is located in midtown New York City where I support all the local artisans, suppliers, and jewellers within my neighbourhood.

What is your favourite material to work with?
I mainly work with Sterling Silver and Gold. I love them both for different reasons. Silver is a precious metal that most people can wear all the time. All of my designs are also solid so there’s a lot of weight to it whether it is made in silver or in gold. As for Gold, it has always been valued and treasured through the ages, and having the chance to work with it is also very special. Especially since my jewelry is designed to be classic, treasured, and essentially modern heirlooms that can be passed down for generations.

Do you have a favourite piece from your extensive collection?
It’s like choosing a child, I don’t really like to play favourites! I love them all for different reasons. Though I will say one of my bestsellers is the Little Luck Elephant; it’s a symbol of pure happiness that’s believed to carry everlasting luck in its trunk, so when the trunk faces up you’ll maintain good luck forever!

Would you ever consider opening a studio in another city/country?
Being raised in New York, and with my family still living here, I plan to stay for as long as I can. This city is so important to me that when we re-launched our brand, we changed our logo to incorporate “Made in New York” to reflect and give respect to the greatest city in the world. The idea of opening a second showroom and workshop sounds nice, but I think I’m just fine staying here.

What should a woman look for in a good piece of jewelry?
Trends are great, but jewelry is an investment, and women should look for jewelry that is well made, has meaning to them, and defines who they are.  Whether it is a special moment in one’s life, a birthday, a new job, a new baby, jewelry should be something you want to keep and treasure.

What’s one piece of jewelry every woman should have in her collection?
Something that is meaningful and special to her that she can wear every day. Whether it’s her child’s initial, a bumble bee that represents her childhood nickname, or a design that represents an inside joke between her and her husband, it should be special. Having something wearable and a reminder of something personal to her is something she can wear and treasure for a lifetime.

Do you have a favourite era of jewelry design?
I really love the Renaissance era, when personal pendants were not only the most coveted keepsake but also designed to be admired from both sides. It was the inspiration for my new Origins collection which is an 18kt Gold and Diamond, bespoke fine jewelry collection that also incorporates elements from some of my most iconic designs.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry designers?
Finding your talent and doing something that you love is the ultimate dream, but stay true to yourself. Trends can affect your design process, and you can be influenced by those that surround you; but sticking to your own vision and point of view is what makes you distinctive as a designer and as an entrepreneur.
You can also read the full interview here.

Jewelers of America – Holiday Gift Guide: Icon & Symbolic

“Send a message with the help of a piece of fine jewelry. Letters, symbols and phrases provide a sense of personalized detail that shows how much thought went into finding that perfect gift.” We were excited to see Jewelers of America include our Little Words™ Dream Cloud in their Oh My Jewelry holiday gift guide!

New York Magazine – The Cut: Artisanal Holiday Boutique

New York Magazine’s The Cut featured our Mini Cupcake, Horseshoe, and Ice Cream Cone Cluster in their Artisanal Holiday Boutique gift guide with pieces from Lord & Taylor’s #Birdcage concept shop!

“The best holiday gifts are ones that are built to last, while being so unique that they’ll continue to leave an indelible impression for years to come.”

Read the full article here.

Town & Country – Preppy Holiday Gift Guide

Town & Country included our Little Princess Bow all wrapped up in their preppy holiday gift guide!

View the full gift guide here.

SILVER Promotion Service & Jewelers of America: Affordable Luxury

The SILVER Promotion Service partnered with Jewelers of America for a holiday gift guide segment featuring our Vida Cuff. It aired on several outlets such as WFTX’s Fox 4 Now and KGUN’s ABC 9! Also, you can give back as a portion of proceeds benefits the Natural Resources Defense Council.

You can find us at 1:25 in the video below of the segment!

New York Magazine, The Cut – Jewelry Phenom Alex Woo Lands in Lord & Taylor’s Birdcage

As the holiday-shopping experience grows more mass and less personal, Lord & Taylor’s artisanal Birdcage boutique has been making strides to imbue it with heart. (You can shop Birdcage in person at Lord & Taylor’s flagship store or online.) A store-within-a-store, it’s rife with truly unique fashion and home accessories—among them, the soulful jewelry of Alex Woo. Born to a craftsman father, this native New Yorker has been making jewelry since she was a small child. Though Dad may be her biggest fan, she’s managed to garner a following in such actresses as Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, and Eva Longoria. We spoke with Woo about her unwavering loyalty to local suppliers and how she’s found her greatest inspiration in her own customers.

How did you connect with Lord & Taylor for this opportunity?
The wonderful thing about my line is that it is modern yet classic. From my collection, we were able to curate a selection that perfectly tailored to Lord & Taylor’s customer. I am so excited that the store is our new Fifth Avenue home, and was so honored that Lord & Taylor reached out to me as one of the first designers to be in their new Birdcage concept. This new concept was not only exciting to me as a designer, but also as a shopper. It is something that is much-needed in this new retail landscape. Consumers will love it!

What was your earliest experience designing jewelry?
My father was a master bench jeweler, so he raised me with an appreciation for gems, precious metals, and fine craftsmanship. At around 8 years old, I designed my first piece. Even at that early age, I loved to mix my metal colors: It was a two-tone pendant in silver and brass that I hand-cut with a saw and finished on a polishing machine. It was modern and sculptural, and something that I was really proud of.

What were some values you picked up from your father that you wouldn’t necessarily learn in school?
As an immigrant who came here to achieve his American dream, he felt fortunate to live here—and that was instilled in me. Growing up, we tried to buy American-made cars and always supported local businesses. A sense of pride in what we owned and where it came from was important. My office in New York City is in Midtown, where I support all the local artisans, suppliers, and jewelers. If businesses like mine don’t support them, we will slowly start losing skilled labor to other parts of the world—and this is something we can’t let happen.

What was your earliest experience designing jewelry?
My father was a master bench jeweler, so he raised me with an appreciation for gems, precious metals, and fine craftsmanship. At around 8 years old, I designed my first piece. Even at that early age, I loved to mix my metal colors: It was a two-tone pendant in silver and brass that I hand-cut with a saw and finished on a polishing machine. It was modern and sculptural, and something that I was really proud of.

What were some values you picked up from your father that you wouldn’t necessarily learn in school?
As an immigrant who came here to achieve his American dream, he felt fortunate to live here—and that was instilled in me. Growing up, we tried to buy American-made cars and always supported local businesses. A sense of pride in what we owned and where it came from was important. My office in New York City is in Midtown, where I support all the local artisans, suppliers, and jewelers. If businesses like mine don’t support them, we will slowly start losing skilled labor to other parts of the world—and this is something we can’t let happen.

Can you tell me the story behind the Tree of Life pendant?
I designed this pendant in collaboration with [actress] Christina Applegate, since we both have family—and in her case, a personal—history with breast cancer. It’s a cause extremely close to my heart: My mother passed away from it when I was just 16 years old. That taught me was how short life can be, how we should appreciate the things we have. So I designed a “Tree of Life” with seven leaves to represent each day of the week, as a reminder to live each day to its fullest. Integrating the feminine curves of a woman, the tree and branches symbolize balance, peace, and harmony. Proceeds from the necklaces go to Christina’s foundation, Right Action for Women, an organization that helps women at increased risk for breast cancer obtain necessary information and testing.

How has your aesthetic evolved over the years?
I love clean and modern designs, classic and timeless styles. I incorporate all these elements into my collections. I think the most important aspect about being a designer is staying true to yourself and your aesthetic. Sometimes a design is re-done 50 times until I feel like it’s perfect. I love to tell stories through my designs, and represent different women. In doing that, I have been lucky to hear stories from women who have worn my designs for reasons different than my original inspiration. For example, with my Little Numbers collection—I met this woman, Julie, who chose the number “8” because she is the eighth living survivor of a liver and stem-cell transplant. How inspiring is that?

In Touch Weekly: The Perfect Holiday Gift for Every Kind of Gal

2014nov-intouchWHY IT ROCKS: “These minis are a fun and fashionable way to rock your individual style! Whether you pick a symbol for your city, an initial for your beau or one of the countless other options, the mini necklace is the perfect way to represent what’s important to you! This holiday season, we’re all about the #hashtag necklace. Can you think of a better way to spice up every #selfie? We didn’t think so.”

In Touch Weekly featured our Mini hashtag I Heart Necklace in their holiday gift guide. We think it rocks #selfies too!

Read the full article here.

W Magazine: Animal Lover’s Gift Guide

Our Little Activist Paw and Bone were featured in W Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide for Animal Lovers! “Pet Friendly treats for the four legged and their friends.” We think they’re the purr-fect gifts to show love for your favorite companions too!

WWD: Origins, A Prequel

Women’s Wear Daily interviewed Alex about our Origins Collection: “A PREQUEL. That’s how Alex Woo described Origins, her pendant line launched this month, executed in 18kt gold and diamonds.”

A bespoke fine jewelry collection, it’s an homage to the Renaissance, and the origins of our Little Icons™ and where they evolved from. “There is more demand for something special, unique, and bespoke…it’s for a very special and niche clientele who may already have everything but is looking for a future heirloom.”

National Jeweler – 7 Great Studs for the Holiday Season

We’re excited to see our Mini Addition Mix & Match studs in National Jeweler’s first digital magazine issue!

“From playful to elegant, these pairs make perfect stocking stuffers.”

SELF Magazine – Root for your World Series Team with Jamie Chung’s Necklace!

We were glad to see Self Magazine was also excited for the World Series games and featured the beautiful Jamie Chung’s #WooSpotting selfie wearing our Little MLB San Francisco Giants!

#WooSpotting: Mackenzie Mauzy

Mackenzie Mauzy looked gorgeous in People Magazine’s 40th Anniversary issue. We also loved how she layered our Little Rock Star Skull and Sienna Stick necklace in a recent #WooSpotting. She’s definitely one to watch and we can’t wait to see her as Rapunzel in “Into The Woods.”

Jamie Chung wears our Little MLB San Francisco Giants!

We’re super excited to find a #WooSpotting of the lovely Jamie Chung wearing our Little MLB San Francisco Giants to a game!

American Way Magazine – Think Pink

Thanks to American Airlines’ American Way magazine for featuring our Tree of Life pendant, co-designed with Christina Applegate and benefits her foundation, Right Action for Women. Let’s all stand together and Think Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Lucky Magazine – Cheery Jewelry to Get You Grinning!

Thanks to Lucky magazine for featuring our Mini Addition Smiley Face stud earrings for World Smile Day! They definitely had us grinning!

View the article here.

O, The Oprah Magazine – Branching Out for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A big thanks to Oprah Magazine for featuring our Tree of Life disc in their October issue! As a cause near and dear to Alex’s heart, she is most proud of this collaboration with Christina Applegate to benefit her breast cancer organization, Right Action for Women.

#WooSpotting: January Jones

We love how January Jones paired her Little Letter X and Mini Heart for her son, Xander, in this #WooSpotting. She knows #HowWeWoo!

American Salon – Pure Vida

The Vida Earrings, spotted on Christina Applegate and Diane Sawyer, capture the Costa Rican rainforests’ sun-soaked, windblown tropical leaves. Sport the earrings with good vibes, 10% of the proceeds support the National Resources Defense Council’s clean air efforts.”

Instore Magazine – Letter Perfect

Alex Woo has just introduced the most luxurious take yet on her signature initial necklaces.

The Origins collection pendants are inspired by Renaissance-era jewelry and have the elegant look of an heirloom. Each is concave and shaped like half a golden egg with a letter nestled within, and decorative engraving on the back makes the pieces reversible.

We think they’re perfect too!

W Magazine – Good Enough To Eat

“If a trip to the farmer’s market isn’t satisfying enough, take a bite out of these fall accessories.”

We agree our Little Vegas Cherries looks deliciously sweet!

Alex Woo in Racked NY and Accessories Magazine: Lord & Taylor’s Birdcage Concept

Appearing in both Racked NY and Accessories Magazine, our jewelry at Lord & Taylor’s upcoming Birdcage concept shop is garnering a ton of attention and we can see why! We can’t wait!

View the full Racked NY article here.
View the full Accessories Magazine article here.

Zayas Jewelers

12 Central Street
Woodstock, Vermont 05091
+1 802-457-2344

Zayas Jewelers of Woodstock Vermont offers a unique collection of vintage and estate, modern, designer and custom jewelry.  “As a native Vermonter, I’m proud to be a part of the local economy and share with you my experience as a graduate jeweler gemologist as well as my experience from over 20 years traveling the country in search of the unique, beautiful & contemporary designs”.  - Jeff Zayas

WWD – Lord & Taylor set to launch Birdcage Concept Shop

Thanks WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) for including our Little Rock Star Lightning Bolt in the July 22nd issue! We’re also so excited to be included in Lord & Taylor’s new Birdcage concept shop!

View the full article here (subscription required).