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Made in the Hudson Valley: Jaymark Jewelers continues family legacy, four decades in the making

James Matero is the fourth man in his family to take charge of the business after his great-grandfather opened up shop in the 1900s.

Katerina Belales

May 21, 2024, 11:22 AM

Updated 32 days ago


“The best of the Hudson Valley.” That is how many people in Putnam County would describe Jaymark Jewelers, which has been handling gemstones for generations.
"I got quite the apprenticeship starting at 13 years old," said James Matero, owner and craftsman at Jaymark Jewelers. "I would get dropped off here by my bus instead of at my house, and I would work after school here."
Matero is the fourth man in his family to take charge of the business after his great-grandfather opened up shop in the 1900s. After working as an engraver and jewelry manufacturer for decades, Matero's great-grandfather eventually settled in Cold Spring. Originally opening up the business to manufacture for jewelers across the country, his great-grandfather realized that would not be the case.
"When you live in a small town like Cold Spring, people will come to you and say, 'Hey, you manufacture jewelry. Can you make me a wedding band? Can you make me an engagement ring?'" Matero explained. "From there, they suddenly found that they were doing more manufacturing for the general public."
The shop soon became one of the most popular places for customers to find jewelry in the region. As the years went by, Matero's grandfather and father eventually took charge of the shop, before it was finally his turn.
As customers walk into the store today, they are surrounded by dazzling diamonds and glimmering gemstones. Sketches of rings, necklaces, bracelets and more flood Matero's desk and the store’s walls, with each piece having its own unique twist.
"One of the things you need to do when you're looking for inspiration is stop looking at jewelry," said Matero. "The better thing to do is think outside the box {and} look everywhere else except for the jewelry world for inspiration. That's when you're going to come up with your own creative and original ideas."
Once the designs are finished on paper, the craftsmen make their way into the workshop and make the magic happen. Since his great-grandfather first opened the business, Matero has ensured the family stays true to their roots, with just a bit of an upgrade.
"When [my great-grandfather] started, he was hand fabricating everything," Matero said. "So, he was taking gold and rolling it out into wire and forming these charms…My grandfather and my father were doing the next step in technology, which was hand carving waxes and using the lost wax casting process. Today, I do 3D design using sophisticated CAD software, and I grow wax models on 3D printers. I still use that same lost wax casting process, but how we get to that point has definitely changed."
One constant thing, however, is the love and care put into each piece, keeping the community coming back for more.
"I can't tell you how many clients come in with their grandmother or even their great-grandmother, and they're saying, ‘Oh my gosh, your great-grandfather made such a beautiful piece for me,’" said Matero. "Then, they're bringing in their kids or grandchildren to come and continue the tradition of shopping at Jaymark…it makes it even more rewarding."
Matero hopes that tradition will continue for generations to come.
“Hopefully my kids or my nieces and nephews will come and take over the business for me,” he said.
Jaymark Jewelers is located at 3612 US-9 in Cold Spring.

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