If you’re a Shelter Island resident wanting to show off your hometown pride with a piece of jewelry, you’ll find it — both here and in Sag Harbor. Stores in both communities carry the charms in both silver and gold.
Where you buy your charms may well depend on how deep you want to dig into your pocket and how fanciful you want the design, but in both communities, you can spend as much as $550, and even more at the high end, while the low end charms can be had for about $35.
On the Island, you’ll find two sources of the charms — Cornucopia, the gift shop on West Neck Road, and Bliss’ Department Store on Bridge Street. In Sag Harbor, your destination would be Lee Jewelers on Main Street.
Both Bliss’ and Cornucopia contracted with separate designers for the charms they have been offering to Islanders for years. Lee Elliot of Lee Jewelers designed his own Shelter Island charms after moving to the East End from New York City in 2005.
Mary Lou Eichhorn at Cornucopia has been selling both solid sterling silver and 14k-gold charms for more than 20 years. While many are designed as charms to be worn on chains or bracelets, you can also have them designed as earrings.
Any of the three stores can arrange to have a diamond chip added to the charms, but Bliss’ Peggy Johnson said she doesn’t get requests for that addition. People simply want the map of the Island, she said.
When she first approached a designer about making the charms, Ms. Johnson said it was “a little bit of a challenge” because of the intricacies of the Island’s outline.
“All are hand-cast,” said her daughter-in-law, Isabella Johnson. Their first charms were of stainless steel before they switched to sterling silver. They don’t make up the gold charms except by special order.
When it came to pricing, Peggy Johnson said Bliss’ was determined to keep their charms affordable and their large sterling silver charm sells for $49.95. Smaller ones can be had for $10 less and earrings go for $45.
“We didn’t want to make the price prohibitive,” she said.
At Cornucopia, the prices are similar to Bliss’, but they also have them made up at the high end for those that want them, Ms. Eichhorn said. The charms she sells are beveled, not flat, she said. And adding a diamond chip won’t send the price sky high, she said.
Peggy Johnson finds that some people purchase them for high school graduates who are going away to college and want to take a bit of the Island with them. Ms. Eichhorn said her buyers are often giving them as gifts for all kinds of occasions.
At the high end are the handcrafted Shelter Island charms that Lee Elliot designed himself and sells at Lee Jewelers in Sag Harbor.
“It started in my mind when we moved out here in 2005,” Mr. Elliot said. He had previously operated jewelry stores in Southampton and Greenwich Village. But he started making his own jewelry when he was in junior high school. In fact, he still has a pair of cuff links he made as a junior high school student in New York City.
Before making the Shelter Island charm — available in both gold and silver — Mr. Elliot designed a charm of Long Island and also created one of Gardiners Island for a descendant of that island’s original owners.
The Shelter Island gold charm will cost you $550 without a chain. If you want a diamond on your charm to show the point where you live on Shelter Island, its price would depend on the size and quality of the stone you choose, he said.
In the years since the charms have been on his shelves, he’s had a steady business in them and various nautical pieces he produces, he said.