Debbie Fox of Fox Fine Jewelry sent me an update about her "Share Ring" program, which began as an effort for her store and 45 other IJO member jewelers to give free necklaces to the unemployed for Valentine's Day 2008. The program continued to expand and the necklaces were also sold, with proceeds donated to charity.

 

For Christmas, 2009, Debbie reported, she tried something new, working with two of her biggest competitors -- Nerces Fine Jewelry and Lynn's Jewelry Studio, both within a couple of miles of Fox Fine Jewelry. "I wanted to set an example that even in this difficult economy, competitors can join forces to help the less fortunate. And jewelers have been especially hard hit by the downturn."

 

Fox surprised herself, by enjoying working with her competitors for a cause — the charity Points of Light Institute. Each store sold the circular sterling silver pendant, inscribed with Hope, Strength and Unity, for $39.99. As before, necklaces were also given away to the unemployed, when they presented a termination letter or an unemployment stub, along with personal ID.

 

"When I met with Lynn and Nerces, it was an amazing experience," Fox says. "They were just guys, and I liked them! I saw that any animosity I had felt was business based, and had nothing to do with them as people. What an experience to work together in harmony instead of against each other! I did this to set an example for others, and in the process, created change for myself."

 

Simon Golub and Sons donated a significant amount of time in prototyping, manufacturing and distributing, all at their cost.

 

“Our local jewelers are demonstrating that in spite of the bad economy, we can all help,” Fox says. “Buying, wearing, and giving Share Ring reminds people to volunteer and donate. We can pull ourselves out of this crisis by finding ways to give and help others.”

 

 For more information or to purchase Share Ring, see  www.sharering.org.