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Creating a special line of jewelry in Charlotte

dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Six days a week, you can find Olympic swimmer Cammile Adams in the pool and workout rooms, training with the SwimMAC Team Elite to qualify for this summer’s Olympic games.

Despite that grueling schedule, she decided to try merging two things she’s fond of: the Special Olympics and jewelry.

Adams, a Houston native, has long been a big fan of Austin, Texas-based jewelry brand Kendra Scott. And she says she loved helping with Special Olympics swim events while in college at Texas A&M University.

So, Adams says, she approached Kendra Scott executives with an idea: What if I worked with Special Olympics athletes to create some special pieces to benefit the Special Olympics?

Last week, Adams and two local Special Olympics swimmers, Beth Kennedy and Kaitlyn Bethune, met at the Kendra Scott boutique in SouthPark mall to design three unique necklaces with gems in red, white and blue, which will be assembled, stocked and sold during a special event at the SouthPark store April 9. Kendra Scott will donate 20 percent of all sales made during the event (not limited to the necklaces that the trio designed) to Special Olympics.

Both Kennedy and Bethune, who swim with Special Olympics at the Harris YMCA, are huge jewelry aficionados.

Bethune, 22, who swims with the Special Olympics “Marlins” team at the Harris Y, makes her own line of jewelry through a website, kaitlynskreations.net, even creating 120 pieces of jewelry, for every member of the Special Olympics Team USA competing at the 2014 world event in Los Angeles.

Kennedy, 31, who swims all strokes but excels especially at the individual medley and breaststroke, says choosing and wearing jewelry are passions. “I love vibrant colors.”

During the jewelry design session, Kennedy chose a Kendra Scott long pendant “Rayne” necklace ($80), and selected a bright cobalt blue stone to complete the piece.

Bethune chose a “Kellie” long necklace ($120) and took her time inserting 10 bright red glass gems into the necklace, while Adams picked a “Corla” necklace ($75) and selected a white mother-of-pearl jewel to place in the pendant.

“This is something that’s always been on my heart to do,” Adams, 24, said, as the trio prepared to assemble their pieces. “I knew I wanted to do something to promote the Special Olympics and give back.”

Adams, who moved to Charlotte a year ago to train with Olympic swim coach David Marsh, says her mom and sister will also host a party this spring at a Kendra Scott boutique in Houston to raise money for Special Olympics.

This event wasn’t a new concept for Kendra Scott, which has a philanthropy arm called Kendra Gives Back. The company has pledged to donate $2 million companywide to charity during 2016, said Jennifer Arpin, community relations and event manager at Kendra Scott in SouthPark.

Adams competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, finishing fifth in the women’s 200-meter butterfly and is expected to make the 2016 USA Olympic team for the 200-meter butterfly.

The chatter among her, Kennedy and Bethune was more about jewelry than swimming as they worked on their pieces. All three exchanged high-fives when the work was done and promised to meet back in April for the unveiling event.

Bethune and Kennedy were beaming as they rejoined their parents when the designing was done.

“That was awesome,” Bethune said with a smile.

Want to go?

Meet Olympic swimmer Cammile Adams and Special Olympians Beth Kennedy and Kaitlyn Bethune at the Kendra Scott boutique in SouthPark, 3-5 p.m. April 9. A stock of the three necklaces they designed will be available for purchase. Twenty percent of all sales will be donated to the Special Olympics.

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