Ellis Jewelers in Concord, N.C., recently sponsored its second annual Future Designers contest encouraging grade school students to design unique jewelry pieces.
“You look at the people who live in the community and realize that they’re the reason you do business,” store owner Dan Levinson says. “What better way to help out than give back to the school system?”
Roughly 120 students submitted detailed drawings to the store for the chance to have their creations made into jewelry. “When the children create the design they are actually doing math as well as art,” Levinson says. “Even if they don’t know it, jewelry design involves a great deal of geometry.”
Dan Levinson selected a winning design from each age group: elementary, middle, and high school. “It took me about three nights of reviewing the drawings to choose a winner,” Levinson says. “There are always one or two illustrations that stand out for me.”
The winning elementary piece, designed by Tommy Molter, 12, was especially meaningful, raising awareness for Tourette’s Syndrome. Molter’s necklace design features a teal ribbon for the Tourette’s Association as well as the words “Inspire.” His final creation was made with white gold and blue diamonds.
Molter, who was diagnosed with Tourette’s as a young boy, wanted to inform others about his circumstance. “He’d rather people talk to him about his condition than whisper behind his back,” Levinson says.
Other winning designs include a sterling silver necklace with a turtle pendant designed by Stephan Dimusto in the middle school age category and a silver pendant with the head of a wolf and the antlers of a deer designed by a entrant in the high school category.
Stephan Dimusto’s turtle necklace
Levinson invited each winner and their families to his store for a special ceremony where he presented the students with their finished jewelry pieces.
Jordan Mesimer’s wolf pendant.
“I hope the contest gives children confidence,” Levinson says. “There are so many kids out there that don’t get enough encouragement and this may be the first time they’re recognized for something.”