Bernie Robbins Jewelers Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Student Design Competition

To mark five decades of service to luxury jewelry enthusiasts in the Philadelphia area, Bernie Robbins Jewelers has launched a jewelry design contest as part of a yearlong celebration. The retailer, headquartered in Somers Point, N.J., (but with five stores total in New Jersey and Pennsylvania), is encouraging local fashion students and amateur designers to compete to win a $500 cash prize, the opportunity to sell his or her design in Bernie Robbins’ stores in 2013, and scholarship money for alma maters.

Entries will be judged on originality of design, how well designs reflect Bernie Robbins’ brand and heritage, feasibility of production, and public popularity based on Facebook votes. Contestants can submit up to three sketches—not finished pieces—for consideration through Nov. 1 on the Bernie Robbins’ website. Afterwards, designs will be posted to Bernie Robbins’ Facebook page, for a public voting period lasting through Nov. 30. Finalists will be posted on Bernie Robbins’ Facebook page on Dec. 5 for additional voting.

Judges include brand representatives from Ippolita, Gurhan, Hearts On Fire, Penny Preville, and more, and finalists and their friends and family will be invited to Bernie Robbins in The Radnor Hotel in St. Davids, Pa., on Dec. 12 for the reveal of the winner. A portion of sales will benefit a scholarship fund for the winner’s fashion design program or school. 

Store owners Maddy and Harvey Rovinsky created the contest as a way to give back to the communities it serves, and to look ahead to future relationships.

“We created this special opportunity in order to further cultivate and nurture young, creative individuals and provide them with an opportunity to break into the fashion and jewelry design industries,” Maddy said.

“Who knows—we could discover the next Penny Preville or David Yurman!” added Harvey.

To get the word out, Bernie Robbins has reached out to local schools, is publicizing the contest on its website and through social media, and has a media segment planned for a Philadelphia-area TV station. To date, a handful of entries have already been submitted. And while designs will be evaluated in part on production costs, limited-run couture or higher-end pieces aren’t off the table. “There may be an opportunity for two levels of design,” a spokesperson tells JCK.