Local gems from Vineyard jewelers
Photo courtesy of Ronni Simon
"Silver and Gold," Burl Ives famously sings in his Christmas carol; add in gemstones, beads, and maybe glass, leather and other interesting elements and you've got the perfect recipe for gifting the women and girls on your holiday gift list.
There are dozens of jewelers and jewelry crafters right here on the Vineyard, and their handiwork represents a broad range of styles from classic to funky, as well as all price ranges.
Among the craftspeople who will be exhibiting at the Vineyard Artisans Festival are a couple of jewelers who have an eye for the unusual and an interest in collecting that led them to incorporating their finds into wearable art. Jamie Rogers of Oak Bluffs turned an experience mining stones out West into a business selling jewelry. The multi-faceted artist sells silver pieces adorned with, among many other things, crystals, dinosaur bones, and meteorites. Her eclectic collection also includes dainty stained glass earrings and attractive wide leather cuff bracelets.
Cynthia McGrath's large and varied line, Original Cyn, runs from pieces made from Lego and dominoes to painted and jeweled deer and snake vertebrae. Ms. McGrath is a serious scavenger who uses maps to discover old landfills and then researches her finds as much as possible. Her stunning display of jewelry crafted from unaltered sea glass also includes descriptions of the type and vintage of the finds. "I use as much found and recycled materials as possible," she said. She also has a fondness for "anything kooky, fun and affordable," i.e. a necklace made from plastic lemon and lime slices.
A couple of other artists who have carved out their own repurposing niche are Leslie Myers, whose line of vintage button jewelry can be found on Etsy (Blue Boat Vintage) and Keri Erley whose "alluring" line of earrings made from fishing lures are on display at b*tru in Oak Bluffs and, appropriately, Coops Bait and Tackle.
Amy Kirkpatrick also has an eye for the beauty of ordinary objects. In her store on Spring Street, A.E. Kirkpatrick in Vineyard Haven, she carries silver pieces adorned with old typewriter keys, guitar picks, Scrabble tiles, shotgun shells, and old NYC subway tokens, among other things. She also works extensively with local sea glass, shells, and wampum.
Night Heron Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven specializes in art and handcrafts from local artisans. Among those displaying their work are a handful of jewelers including Katharine Tackabury, an established metal smith whose pieces incorporate interesting silver designs with druzy and other striking stones. Her silver marine egg case is a real eye catcher. Diana Stewart also features a number of shell and other seascape elements in her silver designs and combines them with pearls and other stones. Ingrid Goff-Maidoff crafts earrings from lovely imported patterned paper that resemble dainty Japanese prints.
Made here, on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, features work by a handful of jewelers including owner Phil Tucker, who uses unusual stones for his one-of-a-kind pieces, and Ilana Mackin who features a large assortment of wampum jewelry.
Stefanie Wolf has all bases covered with her unique line of beaded jewelry. Her Trilogy collection of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings crafted from colorful Czech glass tile beads can be found at her studio on Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs, at the Artisans Festival, and at Featherstone. She is also one of about a half dozen local artists whose work is featured at C.B. Stark Jewelers on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.
An artist who creates some of the store's selection owns every one of the multi-artist jewelry stores on the Vineyard. C.B. Stark and co-owner Margie Meltzer design about 50 percent of the store's merchandise, including the gold and silver Vineyard charms that they are known for. The store also features the work of a number of jewelers utilizing different materials and styles such as Nancy Clarke, who makes macramé bracelets with antique beads and buttons, and Nettie Kent, who crafts funky silver pieces with interesting themes derived from nature.
Claudia Lee of Claudia in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven does strung work. She also features the work of a handful of other local artists including goldsmith Richard Hamilton and a few different wampum craftspeople.
Sheryl Schrader, co-owner of Moonstone in Vineyard Haven, is a graduate gemologist who fashions pieces from gold, gemstones, and wampum. The store also carries work by a number of other artists including a few locals.
Sioux Eagle creates many of the designs at her Main Street, Vineyard Haven store. She also features the work of a selection of local artists including a few young jewelers with interesting new designs.
Each of these jeweler/store owners has a distinctive style and is also dedicated to seeking out new designers.
As with just about all of the creative endeavors, the Vineyard has produced an abundance of gifted jewelers and no better time than Christmas to explore what the Island has to offer. After all, every woman knows that the littlest box under the tree often holds the most treasured gift.