Cashing in on cicadas: Jewelry designer making most of rare opportunity

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 2:36 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Soon, the Brood X periodical cicadas are expected to emerge here in the Tri-State. While some people are dreading it, others are hoping to make a buck off of the insects.

A retired Cincinnati woman, who makes jewelry with her sister, is making cicada earrings and necklaces. She paints each of the cicada necklaces and earrings by hand.

She is not the only one getting excited for the noisemakers to appear in the Tri-State.

From jewelry to cookies and beer, local and national businesses are hoping to make some money off of this rare event happening soon.

In case you have not heard, the 17-year cicadas known as Brood X will be here once the soil temperatures warm up to 64 degrees.

Kathy Unkrich of Monfort Heights is selling necklaces and earrings painted to look just like the insects waiting to interfere with all of our summer plans. But to Unkrich, it is no big deal.

“I’m a gardener, so I’m outdoors all the time,” says Unkrich. “They don’t bother me at all.”

Unkrich is retired now. She and her sister started Robinette Designs about nine years ago designing jewelry and accessories for women.

She says this is just a way to make the best out of the situation.

“It’s just fun. It’s just a way to have fun with something that we’re not going to be able to avoid them,” says Unkrich. “You can’t shut yourself up in your house for six weeks - although we’ve been doing that,” jokes Unkrich. “But if you want to get out at all, they’re going to be there. And they’re harmless.”

Unkrich just started making the cicada jewelry a couple of weeks ago. So far, people are having fun with the unique items.

“Every now and then you get someone that goes, ‘ew,’ but at the show, we did this past weekend, people just love them,” says Unkrich. “Especially for the younger kids who’s never even seen a cicada.”

Unkrich adds these cicadas are not true to size, which may be a good thing. However, she does hand paint each one based on a picture of an actual cicada.

“You have to paint what you see. So, I’m looking at the gold and the orange and blue and thinking articulated legs, also, the eyes which are done last,” Unkrich says. “They’ve got those little beady eyes with the little black dot in the center. So, I try to make them as detailed as I could based on what I was looking at.”

$2 from each purchase goes to the World of the Insect exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo.

You can wear the jewelry with pride and know that you are supporting a good cause and a local business.

Unkrich will be at an arts and crafts show at Sycamore High School this Saturday selling her jewelry. That event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click here to report it. Please include title of story.

Copyright 2021 WXIX. All rights reserved.