Greetings From Martha’s Vineyard: Summer’s in Full Swing at CB Stark Jewelers

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 interior
An interior view of the store’s Edgartown, Mass., location

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.

CB Stark founders
CB Stark founders Margie Meltzer (left) and Cheryl Stark, who met on the Vineyard in the early 1970s. At the time, Stark was a silversmith and jewelry teacher with a small studio and retail space on the island; Meltzer came to the Vineyard as a recent college grad with artistic inclinations, and the two clicked. Hard work and a felicitous merging of their design, production, and business skills, paved the way to a successful future.

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.”

CB stark charms
From left: Gay Head Lighthouse charm in 14k gold, $450; Vineyard Colors necklace with lapis in sterling silver, $185; Entering Oak Bluffs Town Sign charm in 14k gold, $450

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.

CB Stark vineyard charm
Martha’s Vineyard Medium charm in sterling silver, $60

“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.”

CB Stark wampum bracelet
Wampum bracelet with 14k gold beads, $995

“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!”

CB Stark layering necklaces
Mini Martha’s Vineyard necklace in 14k gold, $215, shown layered with necklaces by Theresa Kaz and Olivia B

“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.”

Theresa Kaz compass necklace
Compass necklace with iolite, sapphire, purple sapphire, London blue topaz, and diamonds in 18k yellow gold, $2,400; Theresa Kaz

“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.”

Lika Behar x CB Stark sea glass ring
Custom ring with Martha’s Vineyard sea glass in 22k gold and oxidized silver, price on request; Lika Behar

“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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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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