Tell us a little bit about what you do (business, career, etc.) How did you get started?
I own Continental Jewelers, as a partner for 30 years and now as the single owner since 2013. I started way back when, just looking for a full time job til I decided what I really wanted to do with my life. And here I am! My info from our website is as follows:
Chrysa F. Cohen has spent most of her working career designing and presenting the face of Continental Jewelers to the buying community in and around Wilmington, Delaware. She has kept Continental Jewelers on the cutting edge of every phase of the jewelry industry, whether bringing the most desirable brands to the area (Hearts On Fire, Simon G, Pandora), overseeing a state of the art in-house repair and design facility, or moving to a freestanding, owner occupied building.
Dating from 1955, Continental Jewelers, Inc. has moved through a series of family ownership changes. Chrysa feels her current ownership role in the store is best described as caretaker of what she considers an amazing business. She says, “We pride ourselves on our knowledge, ethics and integrity. We can take care of all your jewelry needs, from the perfect engagement ring to a rare alexandrite (an amazing gemstone that changes color in different lighting), from changing a watch battery to restoring a family heirloom. As custom design has become more popular, we enjoy working with our clients to design jewelry of the quality and style that will be handed down through generations. Our selection of pre-owned jewelry continues to grow and has become an important area for both our buying and selling clients.”
Located in the heart of the Brandywine Valley in Delaware, Continental was one of the first jewelry stores in the country to make the move to a freestanding building in 1989. The environment adds to the highly personalized service. Industry memberships include membership in the American Gem Society, which promises dedication to a code of ethics and guidelines set forth as a model to the jewelry industry with the ultimate mission of consumer protection. AGS membership ensures the consumer is buying from jewelers who have the knowledge and skill to assist in making informed buying decisions by requiring annual retesting of members, the only such standard in the industry.
How do you define success?
Being happy and having a happy kid who is contributing to the world.
What’s a surprising tidbit about yourself that most people don’t know?
I am such a plant collector that my daughter was concerned when she went off to college that she wouldn’t be able to find the kitchen when she came home.
Give a shout out to the woman or women who inspire you the most.
I am most inspired by my mom, who passed in 2010, but left her mark on all who knew her. Her life was difficult, and yet she made everyone around her feel better by her presence. An amazing legacy to leave!
How did you push through a turning point (career or life) and what did you learn from it?
I never imagined owning a business by myself, especially one as complex as a full service jewelry store. This store has always been owned by at least two partners (I am the first sole owner). It has been challenging, demanding, scary, and amazing to be in this position. It took a few years, but it forced me to find my voice. I really have a better understanding of who I am because of the challenges!
We understand that Continental Jewelers has been a family run business for several generations. How much does this legacy affect how you run the business, if at all?
It’s a huge part of who we are as a business! Although there have been several families involved in the ownership of the business over the years, my family has now been involved the longest (I am officially the longest standing employee of the company-never imagined THAT when I first came around looking for that full-time job!). When one thinks about jewelry, usually the first thoughts that come to mind are family, sentiment, celebrations. We are all about family and connections, and those who helped shape this company set the standards and systems we still live by. Each generation just improves on what exists.
What’s an accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Two come to mind — sending that last check to my ex-partner and finishing my gemological degree from the Gemological Institute of America after 10+ years of home study and in person lab classes, as a single mom raising my daughter.
Why Chrysa Cohen is On this List
“In an industry comprised mostly of male business owners, Chrysa has become the sole owner of Continental Jewelers. She continues the tradition of a multi-generational family-run company for 30 years. She studied hard for over a decade, as a single mother, and finished her gemological degree. What a legacy — nothing short of amazing.“
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