2018-07-01 / Shorts

Wearable Art

Annual contest turns Moyer Jewelers staff into jewelry designers.
Robyn Passante | Photo by Matt Fern

Most of the art showcased in the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts happens on sidewalks and stages outside the businesses that line College and Beaver avenues. But at least one local business opts to get in on the creative fun, showcasing its staff’s own artistic creations throughout the long weekend.

And if you stop into Moyer Jewelers at the corner of College and Allen during the week of Arts Fest, you can vote for the best one.

Moyer Jewelers’ jewelry design contest has become an annual ritual for the staff and visitors alike. Each year staff members are given the chance to sketch their own design of a custom jewelry piece, which is then manufactured into a real piece customers can buy — or just vote for.

“I look forward to it all year,” says staff member Susie Sekunda. “Especially when [owner Lori Moyer] is going to gem shows and bringing loose gems back, you’re kind of keeping an eye on things and seeing what she has set aside and what you might like to use.”

Staff members monitor what’s trending in jewelry design and consider what has sold in previous years. Sekunda sketches hers on paper (“I used colored pencils this year!”) while Crystal Ernecoff designs hers on the computer. The sketches are sent to their jewelry manufacturer, where a Computer-Aided Drawing is created and sent back for approval before the piece is made.

They are asked to design something that will retail for $1,500 or less, but “sometimes the budget gets broken,” Sekunda says, and that’s OK. The eight pieces designed this year retail for between $700 and $3,700.

“The idea behind the contest is to show people you can do a simple sketch like this and it can turn into a really beautiful piece of jewelry,” says Jim Eberly, the store’s operations manager. “You don’t have to be an artist to be able to pull this together.”

“And we can help you interpret what it is you really want,” Ernecoff says.

All the designs are on display the week of Arts Fest, and people can vote for their favorites in the store or online. Voters are not told which staff member designed which piece, but they are given a $5 coupon good toward a purchase in the store. And staff members are given a bonus if their piece sells that week.

“It just adds to some of the fun,” says Eberly.

Ernecoff scored that bonus last year — and immediately asked the buyer if the store could keep the piece on display until the contest ended. Alas, Eberly won the design contest in the end.

“The winner gets $100,” says Eberly, “but it really has nothing to do with money. You have a full year of bragging rights until the next time around.”

But until those bragging rights are decided, the contest is a fun way to add to the creative atmosphere in town.

“We look forward to Arts Fest every year — we enjoy being right here in the middle of it,” Ernecoff says.

“And we have a lot of people who come back and visit specifically, and the design contest is part of that.” •SCM

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