Gem of a Couple

James Matero Jr. engages his wife, Melanie, to display a one-of-a-kind custom-made Peridot and diamond pendent. The two are partners in Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring.
James and Melanie Matero, proprietors of Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring, term their  professional lives  “one continuous celebration.”
“We share in celebrations of individuals coming in for engagement rings, birthday, anniversary and graduation gifts,” says Melanie, adding that a new trend involves jewelry gifts for mothers who just gave birth. “Every day we get to share in moments that make people’s lives so special.
“We sometimes hear how the man popped the question,” she adds, recalling the customer who took his beloved to Broadway and arranged for a Times Square electric sign to pop the question.
Occasionally there is a sad event. Jim recalls the man who ordered a special custom piece for his young wife, who died suddenly before she could receive it.  “We went to the wake. It was sad.”
The firm is into its fourth generation, with two Matero children involved in the operation. It was founded in Manhattan around 1950 by Jim’s maternal grandfather, Simon Karagozian, a hand engraver also specialized in handmade charms and custom-made jewelry. Jim’s father, James Matero Sr., now of Tampa, Fla., joined his father-in-law in the firm. “We moved into Cold Spring in l969 and went into retail work about three miles south of our current site on Route 9. We moved here in l983,” Jim said. They opened a second location in Katonah in l994.
The Jaymark name, Jim explains, is Jay for James, his father; mar for Margaret, his mother, who worked in the business, and K for Karagozian.
The couple journeys to Belgium twice a year to buy diamonds. “Eighty percent of diamonds are cut and polished in or distributed through Belgium,” Jim said. A new trend involves colored diamonds, mostly from Australia.
Jaymark customers frequently bring in diamonds from family members to be put in a custom-designed setting as a memory of previous generations.
Melanie was a donor of such a diamond. She and Jim dated in high school and were married three years after graduation.  He gave her a three-quarter round diamond in a Tiffany setting. “When my daughter got engaged, I gave her fiance my original diamond,” she said. “It coincided with our 25th wedding anniversary and Jim gave me a new larger round diamond.”
Jim notes that in addition to cufflinks and tie tacks, some men opt for two wedding bands, one gold for dress wear and one tungsten for work.
Jim, a certified gemologist, is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America in Manhattan. When the couple’s children were young, his wife helped out in the business during the holiday season. Once they were in school she came in more frequently, starting full time about six years ago.  Their daughter Katherine is a graduate diamond grader, overseeing the Internet marketing and buying and selling. One Matero son, James, does sales and computer-aided design. Kristina, the oldest of the Matero children, lives in Washington, D. C., and Alexander, the youngest, lives locally.
Jim and Melanie are active in community and charitable affairs.  They staged a Mother’s Day design contest, giving $5 to St. Jude’s for every entry and presenting the winner with a pendant designed by the Matero son and manufactured by his father.
Jim, a certified fire instructor, is captain of the North Highlands Volunteer Fire Department. His wife is a key figure in local cancer and heart causes and the House of Hope, a domestic violence shelter. She is a former board member of the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce and belongs to the Southern Dutchess Exchange Club.
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