Our rich heritage started in 1955 in a small shopping center in New Castle, Delaware called the Continental Shopping Center. There, Continental Jewelers was owned by business partners Andrew Gallagher and Harry Rofel. At the time, Gallagher and Rofel used a local repair shop owned by Jay G. Cohen, a goldsmith. Jay, wanting to expand his business, bought into partnership Gallagher and Rofel; this is where our foundation was laid.
In 1959, an opportunity presented itself for Jay to expand the business into the newly developing North Wilmington area, which was mostly farmland. Continental Jewelers opened in the Graylyn Crest Shopping Center, and flourished there for 30 years. During that time, Jay and his wife Miriam became the sole owners, and along the way their two sons, Paul and Art, came into the business. By 1977, Jay left the business and ownership transferred to Miriam, Paul and Art. In 1980, Chrysa Farnan joined the management team. Sadly, Miriam passed away in 1987 and Paul and Chrysa became co-owners of the business.
In 1989, Continental moved to its current location—a brick and stone house renovated to the owners’ specifications on located on Silverside Road in the heart of Delaware’s Brandywine Valley. Continental was one of the first jewelry stores in the country to make the move to a freestanding building, and the comfortable environment adds to the highly personalized service.
Continental also claims impressive credentials, including 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.
In 2012, Paul decided to retire and explore other paths in the jewelry industry. Now Chrysa continues the traditions of fine service and knowledge delivered with ethics and integrity in a warm unique environment.
Chrysa F. Cohen President
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.
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, color-changing alexandrite, 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 a quality and style that can be handed down through generations. Our selection of pre-owned jewelry also continues to grow and has become an important area for both our buying and selling clients."
Di Ane is one of the most familiar faces at Continental. She is a consummate shopper both here and in her personal life. Many rely on her extensive knowledge and good judgment to pick out the perfect gift!
This mystery girl is our Certified Gemologist Appraiser of the American Gem Society. She works diligently behind the scenes in our appraisal department and is in charge of our vintage and pre-owned jewelry department, Miriam's Attic.
Here’s Sallie, our fashion jewelry specialist. She has fabulous taste in clothes and accessories! Her background in art and design are evident in the choices we make regarding new lines and designers.
Shawn is officially retired, but you may recognize her from the community thanks to her extensive volunteer work. A good friend of the store, she continues to fill in when we need her!
Trisha is a long-time friend of the family and loves putting her vivacious, outgoing personality and eye for design to work, helping us manage our community outreach efforts, design our displays, and assist customers!
Kathy officially retired, but continues to oversee our quality control for our repairs and custom work. As a client of ours for over 10 years, she's had much experience wearing and loving jewelry.
Another expert behind the scenes is our jeweler, Giorgi. He's the heart and soul of our state of the art repairs and custom designs, and quite a perfectionist!