A Love of Jewelry, Reading and Literacy

EditorsDec 23, 2020

A Love of Jewelry, Reading and Literacy

One Houston independent is tying these themes together in a jewelry collection that provides books for underprivileged children.

Houston independent Dubin’s Fine Jewelry created the “Book for a Book” initiative. For the sale of each gold or silver book pendant, the retailer will donate a book to a local nonprofit that aids underprivileged children.
My last blog post of the year is normally a roundup of my picks for most impactful stories of the past 365 days. But this time, I’m doing something a little different.

As many of you know, National Jeweler launched a webinar series this year called “My Next Question.”

The last episode of 2020 will air this coming Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m., and will feature three out of our four editors doing a best-of rundown—the best stories they wrote, the best stories other editors wrote, the articles that surprised them, the ones that disappointed them, etc.

You can just listen to that instead of reading it here; registration is available on our website.

Also, to be completely honest, I’m exhausted and would like to end this heavy year on a lighter note with one of my favorite subjects—books.

Each year, I set a goal to read at least two books a month, with an eye on finishing between 24 and 30 every year. I write down the title and author of every book I read so I can keep track.

Right now, I am about halfway through “Fleishman Is in Trouble” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

If I can finish it soon and squeeze in another book before the new year—which should be easy, since I am off next week—I’ll have read 24 books this year. Not bad, but certainly not my best.

People who know me know I like reading, which is how I end up with book-themed socks (my favorite are a pair that say, “F*ck off, I’m reading”), magnets, masks and now, a pendant from Dubin’s Fine Jewelry.

My friend, jewelry designer-turned marketer-turned tarot goddess Jacqueline Stone, works as the store’s marketing coordinator and directed Jordan Dubin my way after the store launched the Book for a Book initiative this fall.

Described as the store’s “first design for a greater purpose,” the jewelry at the center of Book for a Book is simple—an engravable book pendant in sterling silver ($95) or 14-karat white, rose or yellow gold ($575) on a cable chain. 

The concept is simple, yes, but the effect could be profound, particularly for disadvantaged children in low-income neighborhoods, who are undoubtedly the ones most severely impacted by the disruptions to in-person learning caused by COVID-19. 

Books, Jordan told me during a recent phone interview, have always been important in the Dubin family, as has literacy. 
His mother,  Sherry Dubin, worked for many years as a classroom teacher. For the last 20 years, she’s been the literacy and learning specialist at The Shlenker School in Houston, working with both children who are advanced readers as well as those who struggle. 

At the family jewelry store, Jordan and the team worked with Jackie to figure out a way to tie the family’s love of books and quest for literacy into jewelry to create a program that could have a positive impact, and they came up with book pendant that gives back. 

The Book for a Book pendants are customizable. They can be engraved with initials in various fonts (the script font is seen here at left) or set with gemstones (seen at right).

For each pendant sold, the retailer donates a book to Books Between Kids, a Houston nonprofit that provides books to at-risk children to help them build their home libraries. 

Having books in the house and starting to read at an early age can have a lifelong, positive impact, and it’s even more important right now, with many schools across the country closed for in-person learning as the battle against the pandemic wears on. 

The long-term social, psychological, emotional, and educational impacts of being away from school will not be fully realized for decades to come,” Jordan observed in a blog post on the store’s website. 

“However, we do know how beneficial reading, and being read to, can be.”

Dubin’s Fine Jewelry spread the word about Book for a Book through social media, email marketing, direct mail, and worked with a local PR company to generate community interest, particularly in local blogs. 

The book pendant program also aligns with the store’s December book drive. 

Dubin’s used to do toy drives but transitioned to books two years ago, tying in the family’s literacy advocacy. 

This year, everyone who donates to the book drive is being entered into a contest to win a 14-karat gold Book for a Book pendant at the end of the holiday season. 

The pendants are sold both online and in the store, and Jordan said they’ve gotten online orders from all over, including from new customers. 

He’s considering expanding the program in the future; soon, you might see book cufflinks at Dubin’s Fine Jewelry. 

Happy reading, and happy holidays, to all. I hope to connect with you in the new year.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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