Turkish delights in Larchmont

A selection of Chakarr’s jewelry. Photograph by Sebastian Flores.

Jewelry lovers can be forgiven for lingering in Chakarr. The Larchmont boutique is that kind of store.

Momma Bird necklaces, the store’s first big seller, that express mother love — while conveying the size of her brood in delicate stones that play at the throat and riff on the 1970s tennis necklace. Moody rings in rose quartz and aquamarine. Long tassel necklaces, all the shimmering rage right now. Byzantine Cuff bracelets that suggest the medieval East. Coin necklaces and bracelets with an Augustan or Herculean flair.

They’re items with an ancient twist to attract the modern woman, says Justin Tillman, who does marketing for the store.

Chakarr Jewelry is a mother-daughter tale of East meets West. It begins with Ferzan Cakarr (slightly different spelling), a jewelry designer based in Istanbul, where she studied sculpture and painting. The former Constantinople and Byzantium, Istanbul is that cosmopolis of crossroads, the onetime capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. When Cakarr settled on jewelry design as a vehicle for her art in 1998, she wanted not only to draw on the centuries-old traditions of metal-smithing and casting for her one-of-a-kind pieces but to capture the cultural richness of the city she calls home.

“Growing up in such a historical and diverse city as Istanbul, you have to reflect that authenticity in your art,” she says on the company’s website. 

From the galleries and stores of Turkey she made a name for herself in Europe after collaborating with a fashion house in 2001. Today, Tillman says, she directs a shop and atelier in Istanbul with some nine assistants.

Enter daughter Benan Chakarr, who came to the United States as an exchange student. When she graduated in 2009 from Binghamton University, where she studied political science, Chakarr wanted to remain in America. Soon that desire dovetailed with finding an American market for her mother’s creations and she was off exploring trade shows and the wholesale market. She opened the Larchmont boutique in a onetime design store on Feb. 12, 2012.

Says Tillman:  “It’s a little shop but we make magic happen.”

For more, visit chakarr.com.

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