Arkansas Jewelers Association Kicks Off First-Ever Student Design Contest

There’s a lot of talk about reaching the next-generation jewelry lover, but the Arkansas Jewelers Association is implementing a plan to cultivate interest among kids—our future shoppers—now.

The AJA debuted its Student Design Contest this year, collecting entries from more than 80 kids who submitted drawings. The goal of the contest: to put our industry on the students’ radar.

“We want to promote the jewelry industry and show younger students that it is possible to design and be recognized,” says AJA executive director Janisue Rigel.

AJA member stores helped to get the word out, and the association is now ready for online judging of 25 finalists’ designs dubbed the most wearable. Anyone can vote online through July 20, 2015. All 80 students receive certificates of participation, while two grand-prize winners—one each in grades 9–12 and grades 3–8—will be announced and invited to the AJA’s annual convention in Hot Springs, Ark., in August.

Brooks Fine Jewelry, in Conway, Ark., will make the winning pieces. According to Rigel, Brooks’ owner, Jeff Brooks, was instrumental in getting the contest started.

Winning pieces will also be offered to all AJA stores for display for 10 days, after which the student designers get to take their creations home.