April 21, 2017
By Corinne Grousbeck | August 3, 2011 | Style & Beauty
Cheryl B. Stark, 1978, working at the bench
|Cuff bracelets from the Favorite Places collection|
|Margery Meltzer, 1980, working at the bench|
Along with sundressses and flip-flops, no summer wardrobe is complete without fun jewelry. These are the pieces you look forward to piling on the minute you shift from sweaters to tank tops, when bare arms and low necklines let you show them off. The best part about summer jewelry is collecting items that hold a special memory of a favorite time and place. That’s the inspiration behind Martha’s Vineyard landmark CB Stark Jewelers.
Celebrating her 45th year in business, Cheryl Barbara “C.B.” Stark has been designing and crafting unique Vineyard-themed pieces for four generations of customers. She is credited with creating the original “bunch of grapes” pendant and Vineyard Map charm, often diamond dotted with the location of the wearer’s home. The Island Ties cord bracelets, charm beads (replicas of the Islander Ferry, lighthouses and town markers) and wrap bracelets are favorites among tourists and residents alike.
Born and raised in New York, Stark attended the Boston Museum School “because they didn’t require entrance exams.” A self-described nonacademic, she parlayed her talent for making jewelry into a summer job on the Vineyard—and she never left. In 1972 she took on an apprentice, Margery Meltzer, and the two became partners in business and life. In 2004 they were among the first in a group of same-sex couples to legally tie the knot. Ironically, they did not craft each other custom rings, instead electing to use rings Stark had made for them both during their first summer together 32 years earlier.
While her work can be found on celebrities, bridal parties and practically everyone else, Stark is most inspired by the custom pieces she creates. “People come in with a bit of wampum or sea glass they picked up on a beach stroll, and we bezel-set it into a pendant.” One of her more exciting projects involved the classic movie Jaws. While filming in town, the production manager stopped by her studio and commissioned a set of five silver rings. Stark was delighted to find her work featured in the movie (albeit on the dismembered arm of a female swimmer).Stark firmly believes that “for people who can have everything, what they truly want is something authentic, found and made on Martha’s Vineyard.”
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