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Family Shelter Jewelry Auction at Aldrich Mansion this Friday
Photos provided by Armbrust International and RI Family Shelter
SILVER AND GOLD: A sample of some of the items that will be available to bid on during the 15th Annual Jewelry Auction to benefit the Rhode Island Family Shelter. These items are some of the sterling and sterling over gold products designed by individuals at Jim Roberts’ company, Armbrust International.

The Rhode Island Family Shelter, along with Armbrust International, Aldrich Mansion and Coastline Entertainment, will host their 15th annual live Jewelry Auction on Dec. 6 at Aldrich Mansion in Warwick.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with an hour of viewing the pieces up for auction, along with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, with the auction beginning promptly at 7.

This auction is usually one of the Shelter’s most successful events.

“We usually make between $7,000 and $10,000,” explained Patti Macreading, RI Family Shelter’s executive director.

She also hopes moving the event from Buttonwoods Community Center to Aldrich Mansion will give it a nicer, more elegant feel to match the jewelry up for auction.

“I’m very excited,” said Macreading about the chances of this year’s event. “ We’re trying to grow this event.”

The Shelter’s largest fundraiser is the annual fashion show in the fall, which brings in close to $14,000. Macreading hopes this auction will bring in even more by attracting a larger crowd.

The Auction is the brainchild of Jim Roberts, president of Armbrust International and a founding board member of Rhode Island Family Shelter. Armbrust International manufactures chains and designs its own silver jewelry.

“We manufacture jewelry for a lot of the major designers in the country,” said Roberts, who reached out to his clients for help with the Shelter. “I asked them, Tiffany, David Yurman, all the major designers, to donate products to the auction.”

His clients were happy to, and have continued to help over the years.

“He’s been doing this and donating jewelry for 15 years,” said Macreading.

Roberts says this year’s auction will feature between 70 and 80 different pieces from David Yurman, Judith Ripka, Alex & Ani, Tiffany, Ippolita, Erwin Pearl, Carolyn Pollack and more. Robert’s company will be auctioning off some of their own designs.

“This is an incredible auction,” said Roberts. “There’s no other auction like this.”

The designers provide Roberts with a retail value for the piece, and Roberts decides what price to start the bidding at. For example, he may start the bidding on a $100 piece at $20. “Wherever it goes, it goes,” he said.

Pieces range in value from $50 to $3,000, with everything usually going for under $1,000. Pieces are usually all silver, although some designers do provide gold or gold accented items.

“It’s amazing what people get,” said Roberts, adding that many pieces are one-of-a-kind, designed especially for the auction.

Roberts is hoping Aldrich Mansion will draw a larger crowd.

“I think we need to invest more in it,” said Roberts. “We’re advertising as much as possible.”

At last check, Roberts said about 70 people registered to attend; he is aiming for 125.

“We’ve raised $12,000 with just 25, 30 people,” said Roberts. “Imagine what we could do with more.”

Funds raised go to cover the operations associated with the shelter, such as electricity and food. Rhode Island Family Shelter serves 16 families – nine in the emergency shelter and seven more in upstairs apartments.

“We’re struggling,” admits Macreading.

“It’s getting harder and harder every year,” said Roberts about grants, many of which are required to go to programs and not operational costs. “We really rely on these fundraisers. I think it’s going to be a tough winter and we’re already full every night.”

A minimum donation of $15 is required to attend the event. Reservations are encouraged; email Patti Macreading to reserve your seat at patti@rifamilyshelter.org. Organizers will try to accommodate as many guests as possible.


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