A bedazzled butterfly took the top prize in Bernie Robbins Jewelers’ first annual Student Design Contest, which culminated in December. The winning design—which was submitted by Fashion Institute of Technology student Raymond Hakimi—was revealed at a cocktail reception at the chain’s Radnor Hotel location in Wayne, Pa., on Dec. 12.
The delicate, feminine design was chosen by a panel of judges representing brands including Hearts On Fire, Penny Preville, Katharine James, Roberto Coin, and Honora. It will be produced and sold in Bernie Robbins stores this spring.
The winning entry in Bernie Robbins Jewelers’ Student Design Contest, designed by FIT student Raymond Hakimi (courtesy of Bernie Robbins Jewelers)
The contest was created to fete the jewelry chain’s 50th anniversary, but co-owner Harvey Rovinsky says he plans to build on the success of the inaugural competition in the coming years. “The first year you need to get traction,” he says, “and now there’s a buzz about it.”
Not to mention a smidgen of irritation that “a New Yorker won the top prize,” says the jeweler, with playful bravado. “I’m a Philly guy. Certainly, the local schools will have their backs up that nobody around here won. At the same time, it was great that someone from FIT felt our contest was worth entering.”
Hakimi designed the butterfly, which Bernie Robbins will produce as a pendant, with star sapphires as the central gem. But to make it more affordable, “we’d like to do it in silver and iolite,” says Rovinsky, adding that the design “was not only the most pleasing, but also the most professional-looking and the most reproduce-able. Young designers don’t always understand what’s commercially viable. If their designs are too avant-garde, they won’t sell. The winning design had to be something that if we produced, there would be a demand for it.”
Rovinsky and his wife/business partner, Maddy, conceptualized the contest when brainstorming an anniversary event that would feel fresh and exciting. “We wanted to reach out to a different audience,” Harvey says. “Young designers in our industry—I don’t think there are enough of them, frankly. It always pays to cultivate talent.”
Bernie Robbins Jewelers operates seven locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.