I feel like I spent a good deal of my childhood surrounded by older relatives, grandparents, great aunts and great uncles. I think for that reason, my tastes in jewelry tend to drift toward the antique styles. When we were looking at engagement rings, I couldn’t find anything at the jewelry stores that I wanted to wear. It wasn’t until we popped into an estate jewelry store attached to an antique shop, that I found the ring that I was looking for. Not only was it beautiful, but I loved it because of the mystery behind it. Someone else had worn it, possibly for their entire life (I like to think that option rather than their marriage ended un-happily) and now it was going on my finger. I was given my grandmothers’ wedding band to go with the purchased engagement ring because it happened to match well…and we didn’t really have any money to buy a band. For me, it’s the unknown story behind the ring that keeps my interest. For others, when they pick out their rings, it’s the look of the metal, or how the stone was obtained. For some, it’s the craftsmanship behind the piece that makes them fall in love with it. Jewelry is neat in that way. There are so many things to fall in love with! Meet Colin, Marian and Lorien of Chinchar/Maloney Fine Jewelry and read all about their amazing jewelry story!
Please introduce yourself.
We are Colin, Marian and Lorien. Colin and Lorien are brother and sister and Marian is Colin’s awesome wife. Marian grew up in New York and Colin and Lorien grew up in Texas. We all live in Portland, OR. now. Love the great northwest!
What do you make or do?
We make fine handmade jewelry. We use everything from white diamonds, gemstones, gold, silver to natural diamonds. Most of the work we create is for custom orders made special for each client. Many of our pieces are one of a kind. Rings, bracelets, necklaces, engagement rings, earrings, statement rings, and more!
We love to use unique, natural, rose cut diamonds in our engagement ring designs. All of our diamonds are natural and untreated (with the exception of opaque, black diamonds which are always treated for color) and have come out of the earth with the wonderful colors and characteristics you see here. All of our diamonds are ethical and conflict free. This is just as important to us as it is to you!
We find that customers love our diamonds because of their one-of-a-kind, unusual and special characteristics. One customer recently told us that he and his fiancée chose one of our diamonds because it represented how they feel about each other and their union – utterly unique and beautifully imperfect.
Where can we find your creations?
You can find our creations on our website chincharmaloney.com or at our studio located in Portland, OR. where the magic happens. Please email us with any comments or questions.
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business?
Chinchar/Maloney Fine Jewelry started in Brooklyn, NY in 2010 as a collaboration between Colin Chinchar and Marian Maloney (now a Chinchar too). They came to jewelry after both pursuing creative lives in different areas; Colin in carpentry and sound design and Marian in painting and in her professional work as an Art Therapist. Colin has also been a mineral and gemstone fanatic since childhood and Marian has loved jewelry since sorting through her Grandmother’s jewelry boxes full of antique items from the 19th century as well as mid-Century costume glam. And let’s not forget her mother’s charm bracelets from the 50’s and 60’s that led Marian to become a charm collector herself! Colin and Marian soon realized that their strengths combined in the areas of design, detailed craftsmanship and a passion for gemstones and precious metals.
In 2014 they moved their base of operations to the beautiful Northwest in Portland, OR while keeping a strong presence in New York through frequent buying trips and meetings with clients for custom designs.
Further growth has come through the addition of Colin’s sister, Lorien Chinchar Petitt, who has joined the team as a third partner and who is in charge of all Marketing and Public Relations. Lorien shares the Chinchar/Maloney passion for quality, handmade jewelry pieces which are truly individual works of art.
Currently you’ll find Colin, Marian and Lorien in their Portland, OR studio (with their Supervisor, Roy the pug) brainstorming, creating and pursuing what they truly love. Their greatest joy is when they hear back from clients who are loving their one of a kind (as each piece is handmade and therefore unique) Chinchar/Maloney jewelry.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
We have been creating jewelry for over five years and it became a full time job over four years ago as we continued to grow. All of us gave up busy corporate jobs to do what we love. Today we are busier than ever and have been featured on Gem Gossip and the Huffington Post just to name a few and have many happy clients. Many have become friends.
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
When we are not making jewelry Colin and Marian are designing future collections and Lorien is enjoying her newlywed status. All of us enjoy art, outdoor activities, going to new restaurants, and yoga. Colin also likes working on his sound and audio for the film industry on the side.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
Both! I would say that creativity is a necessity for all of us. Each of us come from very artistic families. Colin and Lorien both have parents with masters in fine art and Marian’s mom is an incredible photographer who creates true works of art that are frozen in time. It is also a luxury because we are truly happy creating jewelry and look forward to it every day. There is nothing like making an engagement ring for a client and then getting the pictures from the client of how they proposed and the wedding pictures. Going on the journey with the jewelry from start to finish is amazing.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
It was scary at first to give up a steady job and take a chance doing what we love. Will we be able to pay our bills? Will people love our jewelry as much as we do? Will we make a difference? Turns out it was worth the risk and we have many repeat clients and others who buy on our website or fly in to Portland to have a private consultation with Colin and Marian who are the designers. We took a risk and have no regrets.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
For each one of us we were all born with the creative gene. Both of our families have a huge background in art and creativity. It was all we really knew growing up. Even the decorations for the holidays were all handmade for the house and tree.
Where do you find inspiration?
We find inspiration from the diamonds we work with, the gemstones, nature, things around us, our past experiences and our clients. We even work with natural diamonds because we embrace the flaws that nature created. Flaws are beautiful and one of a kind so celebrate their unique charm.
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
For the future we are planning to expand and create new collections and designs that are different and unique. We just moved into a bigger studio in Portland. Marian and Colin have already started working on some exciting new pieces. I want to tell you more, but I can’t ruin the surprise.
If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
Money was always an issue at first, but we stayed true to our art and made it through the hard times of growth in the beginning. Even if money was not an issue I don’t think we would done anything different. The journey we took put us where we are today. The mistakes and experiences helped us to learn and define who we are today.
What would be your perfect day off?
The perfect day for Colin and Marian would be to relax in bed all day with Roy the pug (known as the cuteness supervisor) with a good book. For Lorien is would be spending the day on the couch watching her favorite TV show Sex and the City with a wine and cheese plate at her disposal.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
What advice we would give to those established or just starting out is follow your heart and your dream and lastly take risks. If you don’t take risks you will never know what could have been. We almost made that mistake.
Who are the makers that inspire you?
Leonardo de Vince for thinking outside the box, Monet for his use of color, and Victorian designers who made jewelry for that period because of the simple lines, geometry and the meaning behind each piece.