You don’t just wear a necklace any more; when you put something around your neck nowadays, you are making a statement. You may be saying something bold or delicate, excessive or refined. But you are definitely saying something.
The concept of statement necklaces—wearing a piece of jewelry to convey a message about yourself—feels new, but it has a long history behind it. Cleopatra loved her bib necklaces; the Indian Maharajas loved to pile on the jewels.
With her lucky 13 collection of little icons, no one makes it easier to make a personalized statement necklace than jewelry designer Alex Woo. Her work has appeared on The Carrie Diaries and Gossip Girl. It has made the Elle magazine’s accessories issues and graced the neck of some swimming suit models in Sports Illustrated. Currently, Woo’s work can be purchased at the boutique of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, as well as online through Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s.
The beauty of Woo’s little icons—all crafted in sterling silver, 14k yellow gold, or 14k white gold with diamonds--are their versatility: You can choose your favorite number or letter or animal; layering the icons offers endless unique looks.
In recent years, many statement necklaces have been large and made of mixed materials. Think of Tom Binns and his famous Dada-inspired tangled sea gems, rhinestones and pearls. Or J. Crew’s jumbled chains and crystals. Woo offers a different, scaled-down look that feels refreshingly current and refined.
“It’s not so much about going for a smaller look,” says Woo, “but a more personal and classic one that’s effortless and that can complement any wardrobe choice. I also believe that when something holds that much personal significance or meaning, it is more of a statement than any necklace two or three times that size.”
It certainly is easier to pull off Woo’s little icon look, which includes a delicate diamond-cut ball chain that has become her signature accent.. “The chain not only contracts and complements the clean and modern finish on all my pendants, but everyone loves it because it sparkles and adds a lot of shine,” she says.
This year Woo also launched two new collections: Little Cities and Little MLB (Major League Baseball). “I want to [let people] show pride and personal ties to the cities we grew up in, or shared memorable experiences with,” she says. “Through these designs, I hope to bring new audiences to the fine jewelry world.”
Among my all-time personal favorites are her dragonfly icons with its diamond-studded wings; her lucky horseshoe icon; her silver sea shell and her silver starfish. And nothing beats the classic letters and numbers icons (My lucky number is seven.). Also outstanding are her diamond daisy and the gold-and-diamond sunflower icons. But that’s just my taste—which is exactly the point of Woo’s jewelry.