NEWPORT BEACH ( — A Newport Beach jeweler is searching for those Orange County mothers who shine most brightly in their children’s eyes.

Every year, thousands of children enter Mike Watson’s “Why Mom Deserves A Diamond” essay contest hoping to walk away with the top prize, a quarter-carat diamond for the lady in their life.

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Some have written about their hardworking single mother, others have described the devotion of a mom who stayed home and made breakfast every morning.

Watson brings in local teachers to read the essays and select their favorites.

In the end, two kids take their mothers into the shop, read their essays aloud and get to give their mother an unmounted, quarter-carat diamond.

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First and second place winners will be given an amethyst and a garnet, respectively.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Watson, the owner of Gallery of Diamonds, was inspired in 1993 to start the contest by his 20-year search to find his birth mother. Participation in the annual contest has grown exponentially over the years. About 200 letters poured in the first year. Last year, more than 20,000 children entered the contest.

To participate in the contest, enter an essay by Jan. 15. All submissions must be submitted by an Orange County teacher, and must contain at least five essays. For more information, go to

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