This past November, First Jewelry brand, Persona, and Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, partnered on a bead design contest to find new design ideas for the Persona Autism Speaks collection. Persona first introduced a collection of three Autism Speaks beads in the fall of 2012 in partnership with Zales. Together, Zales and Persona contributed $10 from the sale of each special collection bead to Autism Speaks with over $130,000 in donations made to date.
With the success of the first collection, the bead design contest was launched to include the Autism Speaks community from in the design process. Many unique and inspiring designs were received, of which 35 were selected and evaluated by a panel of judges from Autism Speaks and the Persona product development team. Together, the judging panel selected five designs that were featured online and voted on by the Autism Speaks community. The votes resulted in an Autism Speaks puzzle heart dangle as the winning design from Beverly Muzzy of Claremore, Oklahoma and runner up, Daniel Matta, from Orlando, Florida who designed a turtle with Autism Speaks puzzle print. Both designs were inspired by their loved ones with autism and reflect their personal connection. More on the winning designs below.
The new collection pieces will be added to the existing Persona Autism Speaks collection and sold in Zales retail and online stores. Beads in the special collection are priced from $35 - $50. Together, Zales and Persona will continue to contribute $10 from the sale of each of the special collection beads to benefit Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally, to increase awareness about autism, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
Winning Design, by Beverly Muzzy
"I have a beautiful 9 year old autistic daughter. Our life isn't always easy but we are blessed.
My design shows a heart hanging from a silver link. The heart is attached at the corner so it hangs crooked because our life isn't perfect. The puzzle piece is in the center of the heart because my daughter is in the center of my heart. Our life is full of love and blessings and our daughter is at the center of that."
Runner up Design, by Daniel Matta
"This design represents our son Chris’s autism progress. Even though he has had tremendous improvements in the past year, his pace has been slow and steady. Almost two years ago, as we were learning about ASD, and getting to know his situation; one of his characteristics had been that he liked to go on long walks, with not much distraction during his walk. He was always on a mission to get to his destination (the playground). In one of these log walks, he stopped for a minute to grab what looked like a leaf from the ground. It happened to be a baby turtle. Since then, his walks are more exploratory and more fun. His speech has improved tremendously and we are very happy, and excited about all his improvements. His main obstacle now comes in the form of sensory issues; but with all the support, and therapies that we are providing him, we know that even when it seems slow he is going steady, but he will win the race!"