© 2019 Chela Gurnee Jewelry



  • Chela Gurnee

Hi! I’m Chela. *pronounced like Layla, but with a hard CH at the beginning instead of the L.

Updated: Jan 27, 2019

I’m new to this blog thing so I hope you stick with me through my awkwardness of:

1. Not knowing what to write.

2. Getting past my belief that I’m not a good writer.

3. Getting past the fear of putting myself out there and being vulnerable.

OK, now that that is out of the way, I decided to write a blog because I kept getting messages and signs that I should. I kept ignoring those signs because of the reasons stated above, but the signs kept coming. So here we are.

I’ll start with a little about me. I have been making jewelry since I was 20 so that’s about 28 years — including a 10 year break. I learned how to make jewelry in college at the University of New Mexico.

I fell in love with it instantly.

I relished in the fact that I could make a piece of jewelry on my own that was cheaper than buying one. I of course enjoyed receiving compliments when I wore my own work, as it gave me a sense of both pride and confidence. I initially sold my work to friends and family as a hobby, until a gallery owner suggested I create a small collection for her.

I was very excited when my jewelry started to sell out of the gallery. I then got into another local store, then another. I had my work in a total of 10 shops from coast to coast after a couple years, but I found I was working constantly and reproducing my best sellers over and over again. At some point, I realized that doing this was no longer fun for me.

On top of that, my husband at the time resented all the hours I was spending in the studio, in addition to not making enough money to make it worth it. So I quit. Entirely.

I took a job selling advertising for a local arts and entertainment paper and I really enjoyed having benefits, money and meeting new people. I got really good at it. I was making good money and getting over the debilitating shyness I had always felt ever since I can remember, because you can’t be shy and ask for a sale.

Selling advertising also taught me a lot about marketing, how to build long lasting client relationships and confidence – at least more confidence than I had ever had before.

I did this for 11 years until my creative side started calling me again. I dabbled with collage, painting, photography, etc. Making jewelry wasn’t an option due to the trauma associated with it. My marriage had become abusive and ended right after I quit making jewelry. Jewelry reminded me of all the grief and resentment I had when I quit.

Then out of nowhere, a friend asked me to make her a ring. I made it, enjoyed it, posted a photo of it on Facebook and shortly afterward, another friend asked for a custom ring, then another. What was different this time is that each piece was unique and made with one-of-a-kind stones, so I wasn’t doing the same thing over and over again.

I was on a roll, I found my groove again and it was all up to me. I could make anything I wanted, spend as much time creating as I wanted, listening to whatever music I want to and at worked whenever I wanted to. It was liberating and extremely healing!

At this point, I was still selling advertising and making jewelry in the evening and weekends. About six months into reviving my jewelry making, the company I was working for closed its doors. I took this as a message to officially start my business again. I got my business license, tax ID and I went for it!

At the beginning I was able to get a little unemployment money which was great to keep me rolling. I started by doing little pop-ups at coffee houses, breweries and attending local growers markets.

I’m now four years into this business and am still evolving and growing, I’m back to about 10 shops that carry my work from coast to coast and selling online making close to a six figure income. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a healing journey this has been for me.

The break I took from making jewelry for 11 years was absolutely essential for my path. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the lessons I learned and the confidence I built. Everything truly happens for a reason.

I have become very interested and in-tune with the healing properties of gemstones and the empowering feeling women get when they wear my jewelry. I am really feeling the desire to learn more and more about the healing and manifesting properties of the stones that I use so that my jewelry can be a totem for healing as well as being something beautiful and empowering for the person who wears it.

I have noticed over time that whenever I read the healing benefits of the stone and a piece of jewelry a customer has chosen, they resonate with the customer completely. It always seems like they picked the piece that they needed for whatever is going on in their lives. It always gives me goosebumps when that happens!

I am eager to see which pieces my customers are drawn to, and learning how the stones align with what is up in their lives. I have a one-of-a-kind section in my shop that is the perfect place to find the pieces of jewelry that I have made with healing properties.