Every summer I like to check in with a jewelry store based in a holiday destination, somewhere with a clearly defined high season that requires the buyers to cater to first-time visitors, longtime residents (and their renters) who return annually, and year-rounders alike.
Last year, I checked in with The Vault Nantucket, and this year I’m veering east, to another island hotspot off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard, where local jeweler CB Stark has been an institution since 1966.
CB Stark was founded by the late Cheryl Stark, who died in 2017, and co-operated with her partner Margie Meltzer, who is the store’s current owner.
Together they grew the business from a small garage space to a larger, more serious full-service jewelry store situation on the main shopping drag in Vineyard Haven. Today, there’s also an additional location in Edgartown (pictured at top) in operation during the high season.
General manager Sarah York filled me in what’s hot and happening for summer 2019.
“Cheryl and Margie built this business on our charm collection,” she says. “While we have drastically expanded the jewelry end of our line—our charms are still a go-to collection—our clients are always looking for the new charm to add to their bracelet. It’s a family tradition for many.”
Several charms have been in production since the 1960s, including the Martha’s Vineyard charm, which remains a current best seller. “Clients will come in and show us pieces that either they got 40–50 years ago or that were passed down to them by a mother or grandmother,” says York.
“Wampum is a truly Vineyard style,” says York. “But this bracelet has taken on a life of its own here with women stacking four to six or even more bracelets together.”
“The mini Vineyard necklace is a new design from last year, and it is our best-selling gold necklace at the moment,” says York. “Affordable and gold!”
“Theresa Kaz is a new designer we are super excited about and is off to a great start,” says York. “Her compass collection fits right in with our nautical, Vineyard-inspired line.”
“We have found recently that our own line of jewelry is what we really need to focus on, so we have, and it is making a difference.”
Even so, carrying designer lines, such as Dovera Designs, John Hardy, and Lika Behar has been part of CB Stark’s merchandising strategy. All three companies will be hosted at trunk shows in the coming weeks.
“We have carried John Hardy for over 25 years, and we have many collectors,” says York. “We feel these designers are a great fit with the vineyard and our diverse clientele. And Lika Behar’s line is amazing, and a personal favorite of mine. It’s always fun to host her.”
“Being on the ocean, blue tones—so a lot of sapphire and blue topaz—are always what we tend to sell,” says York. “The lighter, paler palette has been doing well. Prasiolite and aquamarine have been strong for us as well this season.
“We’ve found that you need to stay current, be aware of trends, but not leave your base behind.”
Top: The exterior of CB Stark’s Edgartown location at the peak of summer. The store sees a flurry of traffic during the high season.
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