Birmingham students sparkle in fifth annual jewelry competition

People’s Choice voting ongoing

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 23, 2012

 Groves senior Ellie Schreiber poses with her creation, a garnet ring, which she calls “Upside Down Becomes Right Side Up.”

Groves senior Ellie Schreiber poses with her creation, a garnet ring, which she calls “Upside Down Becomes Right Side Up.”

Photo by David Schreiber


BIRMINGHAM — Move over, Harry Winston. Groves High School senior Ellie Schreiber has been named the winner of the 2012 Jewelers of Birmingham Scholarship Competition, and her unique eye for design is sure to earn her a place among the most elite jewelry designers.

“It was the first time for me (in the competition). It was exciting. I didn’t really know I was going to enter the piece until my teacher told me about it. It was fun,” she said.

The jewelry competition is an annual endeavor of the Jewelers of Birmingham, an organization of retail jewelers within the Birmingham Principal Shopping District that promotes jewelry arts in the community. The contest is open to high school students in a 6-mile radius of the Birmingham area, and is largely entered by students in art or jewelry design programs within Birmingham schools.

Each year, students enter original pieces of jewelry to be judged on quality of design, creativity and technique. This year’s judging panel consisted of Adam Shirley and Tom Madden, both instructors at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and noted metal smith and jeweler Cary Stefani, who has a studio in Keego Harbor.

Richard Grinstein of Grinstein Jewelers is the president of Jewelers of Birmingham, and he said he and the other members of the group are always pleased with the level of talent and skill that the students exhibit in their creations.

“We’re always impressed. There are so many different designs and different approaches. Jewelry can involve a number of materials and techniques, so there’s quite a range,” said Grinstein.

Forty-three entries were collected through March, and the winners were announced April 18. In second place was junior Shelby Packer of Country Day High School, and in third was senior Damian Wieczorek of Cranbrook. It was Schreiber’s garnet ring that won her the top honor. The 17-year-old said she enjoys art, and while she’s not sure she’ll make a career of it, she’ll continue making jewelry as a hobby.

As for the $500 scholarship Schreiber received with the honor, she said she plans to save it for when she begins classes at Grand Valley State University in the fall.

Though the top prizes have been awarded, the contestants are still vying for the coveted title of People’s Choice. The stores of the Jewelers of Birmingham will leave the students’ entries on display through May 2, during which time members of the community can come in to the stores to view the pieces and vote for their favorite. Once the votes are tallied, the winner of the People’s Choice Award will receive what Grinstein called a “night on the town in Birmingham,” consisting of two movie passes, gift certificates to Coldstone Creamery and Biggby Coffee, and other treats.

Grinstein said that over the years he’s learned that Birmingham residents have an impeccable eye for jewelry, and he knows shoppers will be impressed the students’ work.

“This area has for a long time supported the idea of jewelry as an art form. People in this area love jewelry, which is why we decided to give back to the community (with the competition). The students get to see their work side by side with the stuff we sell, and it’s a nice compliment to them.

The entries will remain anonymous until the People’s Choice winner has been announced.

To find out which stores will be hosting entries, visit