Morro Bay jeweler has clasp on community

Gold Tree Jewelers of Morro Bay has always been a family business. That’s important to owners Jason and Pearl Cordero because the couple considers clients extended family.

By asking Jason Cordero to design a memory for the most exquisite times of their lives — a wedding, an anniversary, a significant birthday — clients appoint him as the keeper of their intimate secrets.

“I think of myself as an artist first,” Cordero said. “But I know I have to earn a living for my family, so I take on jobs that many jewelers won’t.

“We don’t love repair work. We want to design, but it is our bread and butter — what brings in the customers,” he added. “For example, I’ll restore heirlooms, even those that might not have been expensive, but they are treasures for their owners — memories I have to be careful with.”

Cordero grew up on a dairy farm in Hanford. His father taught him: “Good intentions are good; hard work gets the job done.”

Cordero wasn’t interested in school, but his teachers encouraged his creativity in art.

He met Larry Rodgers while visiting his brother who was attending Cuesta College.

“He showed me jewelry-making was another art form,” Cordero said.

Rodgers and his mother, Pat, were the original family owners of Gold Tree on Main Street. He noticed Cordero had the work ethic and talent for jewelry design and invited him to apprentice.

Cordero learned more than design. He spent six years gleaning Rodgers’ expertise. He realized his goal of owning his own business when Rodgers sold him the shop in 2007.

“While managing the Embarcadero store,” Cordero said, “I learned to work in silver — the hardest of all jewelry to work with. I also learned tourists want their products out fast because they are going home. I needed to be fast, flexible and accurate.”

Although the economy has not been kind to many of his jeweler friends, Cordero chanced investing in his shop, doubling the space “to provide more room for inventory in silver and other affordable merchandise.”

The Corderos’ business and family memories continue to grow. They have three sons: Elijah, 7, Jeremiah, 4, and Joshua, 2.

For years, Cordero commuted from Santa Maria. Now living in Morro Bay, the couple are involved in their children’s school and participate in community activities. Pearl Cordero regularly works with her husband at Gold Tree.

“When he said he was a jeweler, I thought he sold jewelry,” she said. “I’m constantly amazed at his talent and insight. He’ll listen, then surprises the client by designing exactly what they had in mind.”

Contact Judy Salamacha at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.