Thursday, June 13, 2024

Chelan Valley’s first permanent jeweler making her mark

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CHELAN – An exciting new venture in the valley, Chelan Links Permanent Jewelry, was recognized with the 2023 New Business of the Year award at the Lake Chelan Chamber Gala held on Thursday, Oct. 5. The first ever permanent jeweler in the valley, Chelan Links is quickly gaining momentum and community interest.

Colleen “Coco” Corbin and her husband purchased property in Chelan over 20 years ago, finally moving permanently to the valley in 2018. Corbin has always been immensely creative, enjoying knitting, organic gardening, and painting in her free time. But it was not until retiring last year from corporate work that she was fully able to shift her focus to expressing herself creatively.

She also desired to do something in her retirement that would generate revenue that could be put back into the community. She does not work out of a store-front, rather she is hosted primarily by wineries, coffee shops, spas, and at private parties. Whomever is hosting her is asked to choose a local non-profit that then 5% of her revenue will go to support.

“It’s really important for me to donate money back to the community,” Corbin explained. “I also want to highlight this as an opportunity to talk about things that are going on in our community, to help other people get involved with nonprofits.”

She has not always been a jeweler, though, as a jewelry-making class taken once in high school was foundational to her interest. She mentions things coming forward yet in her mind from that experience. First learning of permanent jewelry in Alabama, she was immediately taken by the concept and realized that making it may be a perfect outlet for her.

Permanent jewelry, a take-off of the idea of friendship bracelets, is jewelry that is welded together while one is wearing it—a chain not having a clasp but, rather, the ends permanently melded. People may wonder what the draws and benefits of permanent jewelry may be, and these are as varied as its clientele.

Corbin explains, “There are different events in people’s lives that they want to celebrate with a piece of jewelry. It’s not terribly expensive, it’s a good price point. It’s more about the memory-making, the experience of acquiring this jewelry. I think it’s more about that and less about the jewelry to be honest.”

There are also logistical benefits to permanent jewelry. Not only does one not risk taking off an item of jewelry and misplacing it, pieces can be worn safely in the shower, or while swimming.

Additionally, sometimes fastening clasps can be a challenge for people, and having a permanently-clasped piece completely eliminates this issue. Corbin shares, “Permanent jewelry is more inclusive, and allows older people who may struggle with jewelry to still have something fun and trending.”

Her jewelry is made exclusively from high quality materials—everything is either 14-k gold-filled, sterling silver, enamel, or rose gold—and she only purchases supplies (raw chains, charms, etc.) from U.S. wholesalers. She also sells small beaded jewelry bracelets for children.

“I wanted everything to be inclusive,” Corbin said. “There’s a single price regardless of whether you have a big wrist or a little wrist. I wanted something for kids. I wanted something for men. I wanted people to have part in the experience, not just young women.”

Corbin has experienced so much success in this part-time business venture in just a few short months that she is currently finding herself needing to turn away businesses. Next year as she approaches spring she will have a whole duplicate of her inventory, and plans to work with someone so as to be able to operate two different booths simultaneously.

For more information about how to either host Chelan Links Permanent Jewelry, or for a current schedule of pop-up events, please visit https://chelanlinks.com .

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or katie@ward.media

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