CORONA — He's going for the gold.
A young jewelry designer from Corona is selling unique and reasonably-priced pieces with hopes of becoming the designer of choice for rappers and stars, like some of the borough’s more famous salesmen.
Kelvin Pacheco, 23, has always been fascinated by the precious metal — especially how it made him feel.
"When you have gold around your neck, you always feel better," he said.
Pacheco, who grew up in Elmhurst and now lives in Corona, still wears the gold crucifix his mother bought him as a kid. But he didn’t think to make his career out of jewelry until earlier this year.
After receiving an associate degree in computer science from Plaza College, he worked in a real estate office, but was laid off in January.
Soon after, he went down to the Diamond District in Manhattan and spoke to a jewelry salesman who agreed to help teach him about the business.
He learned about cut, clarity and color; about diamonds and other stones. And he’s since helped sell necklaces, chains, gold teeth, watches and more, connecting with customers over social media and delivering pieces right to their door — at a price much cheaper than in stores, since he’s getting many of the items wholesale.
Pachecho, who goes by Kelz the Jeweler, helps customers design their dream pieces, too, and brings their ideas to the Manhattan jeweler to be made.
“If it has to do with jewelry, I can get it,” he said.
His clients are mostly in Queens, he said, and his most popular item has been chains and earrings.
“Guys want to look like they’re balling,” he joked, adding that girls prefer smaller chains and other stones.
He said his biggest sale so far has been a custom-designed chain for a Miami-based DJ — and he hopes he’ll become popular with local rappers who want to show off.
Both designers have outfitted rappers and celebrities, and, like Pachecho, are also from Queens.
“The stuff they have is amazing,” he said. “But that comes with time.”
His operation is still growing. He’s based out of his basement bedroom, where he gets daily encouragement from an inspiration wall with photos of expensive cars and a $3 million check he wrote out to himself.
“Hopefully I can cash that one day,” he said.
Pachecho has dreams of opening a showroom within five years, where he can display his best pieces while still keeping prices reasonable.
“Once you give people good prices, and they know that, they’ll stick with you,” he said.
If you want custom necklaces, chains, watches and more, visit Kelz the Jeweler's internet showroom.