By Michelle Graff
Persona jewelry brand launched a bead design contest benefitting the Autism Speaks organization. From left, the winning design by Beverly Muzzy of Claremore, Okla., and the runner-up created by Daniel Matta of Orlando, Fla.
New York--Two brands, Persona jewelry and Breitling watches, will donate a portion of their sales to foundations that support individuals with autism and their families as well as autism research.

First Jewelry Limited’s Persona jewelry brand teamed up with autism science and advocacy organization Autism Speaks to launch a bead contest for new design ideas for the Persona Autism Speaks collection.

The contest was promoted via the Autism Speaks Facebook page and website, and 35 designs were selected and evaluated by a panel of judges from both companies. The panel selected five designs, which were then posted online and voted on by the public.

The winning design was a heart dangle bead featuring the Autism Speaks puzzle piece from Beverly Muzzy of Claremore, Okla., and the runner-up design, a turtle with a puzzle-print shell, was by Daniel Matta of Orlando, Fla. 

The new pieces will be added to the existing Persona Autism Speaks collection and sold at participating Zales stores across North America. Beads in the line are priced from $35 to $50.

Zale Corp. and Persona contribute $10 from the sale of each special collection bead to Autism Speaks’ work to increase awareness about autism, fund innovative autism research and family services, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

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Persona first partnered with Zale in fall 2012 to launch a collection of three Autism Speaks beads. With that collection’s success, the two companies then introduced the bead design contest to include the Autism Speaks community in the design process.

Meanwhile, watch brand Breitling is donating 20 percent of proceeds from the sale of any of its watches with a blue dial at their flagship New York boutique for the entire month of April to the Els for Autism Foundation.

“Breitling has supported Ernie Els and his Els for Autism Foundation for over two years and we are excited to be able to continue in 2014,” said Breitling USA President Thierry Prissert. “We hope that by donating a percentage of our proceeds that we will be able to help build awareness around autism in the U.S. and support the Els for Autism Foundation.”

In 2013, Breitling created a limited-edition 88-piece Els for Autism watch based on the brand’s Chronomat timepiece, with proceeds from sales of the watches donated to the foundation. Breitling also has been a sponsor and participant in the Els for Autism Gold Challenge.

The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Ernie and Liezl Els after their son was diagnosed with the developmental disability to help young individuals and families on the autism spectrum and to create the Els Center of Excellence.

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