Robert and Christy Amay have spent the majority of their lives in the jewelry business. So, it only seems natural that one day they’d want to design their own piece of jewelry.
“We did not just want to make some meaningless piece,” said Christy. “Whatever we made we wanted to be special and one of a kind.”
That day has come. Enter the Hub City Cuff.
The couple, he from Ecuador and she from Picayune, met, where else, but in a jewelry store. They eventually moved to Petal, where he began working his trade at Light’s Jewelers and she became a stay-at-home mom who homeschools their two children.
The Hub City Cuff is a sterling silver cuff bracelet that features five Hattiesburg landmarks – The Train Depot, The Saenger Theater, University of Southern Mississipi and William Carey University and the Hub City sign.
A medallion of The Hub City sign, which was a fixture above the Ross Building on East Front Street from 1912 until 1947, is at the center of the bracelet.
“At the center of New Orleans, Mobile, Natchez, Jackson, Gulfport and Meridian, we are the Hub City," she said.
According to Christy, the water fountain by the Train Depot represents what the "Hub City" means.
She describes The Train Depot as a busy place.
“Not only do all of the trains connect and cross there, but events are also held in the beautiful building.”
Another well recognized building featured on the bracelet is the Saenger Theater, where many of Hattiesburg's thriving events and talented musicians have performed.
“It also brings visitors through the Hub City,” she said.
“And of course, we couldn't leave out the two amazing colleges that keep this city thriving, USM and William Carey,” Christy said.
Christy took a poll on Facebook, asking if there was a piece of jewelry that represented Hattiesburg, what four things would people choose – and it could only be four. “It was hard to choose the top four, because Hattiesburg is made up of so much history and culture,” she said.
The bracelet is in the process of being trademarked. Each bracelet is numbered and engraved with the couple’s last name, Amay.
“We have chosen a certain box for the bracelet and are keeping the colors of packaging and labels to represent the historic colors of Hattiesburg,” she said.
The couple moved to Petal in 2008, where they both fell in love with the area. “We both were in the jewelry industry, with traveling jewelry companies,” said Christy. “A few months after buying the house, I was offered a job with a local jewelry store in the mall and he later came off of the road and began working at Lights.”
The events that have occurred since then have shaped them as a family and as designers for this unique piece of jewelry.
“After going through three major city life-changing experiences, I loved how the surrounding communities of Hattiesburg pulled together to be there for each other,” Christy said.
The first event was the 2013 tornado followed by the shooting of the two police officers – Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate – and the third was the tornado of 2017.
“The community of Hattiesburg that is so big pulled together for each of these life-changing events and helped each other,” she remembers. “Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers, neighbors comforting neighbors and strangers comforting strangers. The love for this city is strong. Both colleges USM and William Carey are both different schools, but for each event that affected the school they both came together to help one another.”
The bracelet is made through a molding process using a computer, which generates a 3D model.
While the bracelet is currently only available in sterling silver ($275) and in one size fits most, somewhere down the road there may come a time when they offer it in other metals or possibly add a diamond or other gemstone to the center medallion. Depending on what is used could greatly affect the price.
The couple is using local avenues to get the bracelet out. “We use local vendors only, because we wanted a mom-and-pop store to have it,” Christy said. “The printing for the card that accompanies the bracelet was also one by a local printing company. If I could have done the boxing and packaging locally, I would have. We want to support local businesses, because we believe this is what this is all about.”
The Hub City Cuff is currently available in two locations – Lights Jewelers in Hattiesburg and FIG Boutique in Petal. For more information, visit their Facebook page, Amay Jewelry.