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Joannie Rochette teams up with BIRKS

Helped design signature heart-shaped pendants to benefit a campaign called "IHEARTMOM.''

Joannie Rochette shows off her IHEARTMOM bling for BIRKS.
Joannie Rochette shows off her IHEARTMOM bling for BIRKS. (Getty Images)

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By Amy Rosewater, special to icenetwork.com
(10/18/2010) - Joannie Rochette has enjoyed many of the trappings that come with being an Olympic medalist.

In the months since she earned a bronze medal at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Rochette has performed in numerous shows, secured major endorsement deals and was nominated for an ESPY award. This summer, Joannie even got to meet the Queen of England and First Lady Michelle Obama.

But now is part of a project which is literally dear to her heart.

Rochette has been working with the prestigious Canadian jewelry company, BIRKS, to design signature heart-shaped pendants to benefit a campaign called "IHEARTMOM.'' Part of the proceeds will go to the University of Ottawa's Heart Institute to help with heart disease research and treatment.

Monday evening, Rochette will be at a dinner in Montreal with BIRKS officials, and she will participate in an official media day, along with her pendant in her hometown of Montreal on Oct. 25. More details about the pendant and its store release then.

Rochette's mother, Therese, died of a heart attack just two days before the women's figure skating competition began in Vancouver. Somehow, Rochette managed to perform in the biggest competition of her life -- the Olympics -- on Canadian soil and deal with her grief all at the same time.

"The heart pendant is a connection to my mom,'' Rochette said. "This is a very exciting project for me to get involved with and it's good to link up with the University of Ottawa.''

BIRKS also was the official jewelry supplier for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Rochette didn't just lend her name to BIRKS. She became a huge part of the creative process.

"I knew nothing about jewelry design but I met with a lady and we discussed things and she made drawings,'' Rochette said. "It was very similar to the creative process in skating, actually. We decided to make the heart shapes in a twirling direction.''