As a standout tennis player at the University of Southern California and the mother of two USC tennis players, Georgette Cooper is always looking for ways to support her alma mater. So when she found herself with a couple of loose rubies a few years ago, she had them fashioned into a necklace that played up the university's cardinal-and-gold colors.
"A lot of the moms thought they were so beautiful…Everyone kept wanting me to take them down to the jewelry mart [to get one made]," Cooper said.
Partnering with longtime friend and La Cañada resident Paulette Geragos, Cooper decided to harness the positive feedback. In 2007, they launched Bling by the Yard, a jewelry line that specializes in necklaces and bracelets featuring the colors of universities, colleges, fraternities and sororities.
Initially, the necklaces were made out of gold and priced at more than $200 apiece, Geragos said. In recent months, however, the duo redesigned the necklaces with less expensive materials and they now are available at Sossi Jewelry Collection in La Cañada for $80.
"I have had a lot of looks; [customers] love it," said Sossi Bagham, the store's owner.
And now, the line includes jewelry that features La Cañada High School colors, with $10 from each sale going to the school district, Geragos said.
"I wear it out and about and people really like it," Geragos said. "It is something that is attractive and can be worn year-round, not just at football games."
The necklaces and bracelets are great gift options for mothers, or for students who are looking for an alternative to their class ring or sorority pin, Geragos said. And sales benefit local public schools, she added.
"With the budget cuts [to public education] it just made sense," Geragos said. "And what girl doesn't love jewelry?"