Maryellen Rooney is a former art major who grew up visiting Cape Cod and Nantucket, and so she came to love the ocean and nautical style. In 2011, she moved to Maine with her husband, who grew up in Freeport.
“He works for L.L. Bean, and we lived in Yarmouth in this apartment where we could walk to the boat yard,” Rooney recalled. “I was making jewelry and selling it a little before I moved up here, but when I moved up here I was inspired more by the coastal lifestyle.”
The couple now lives in Falmouth, where Rooney makes nautical rope bracelets and gold- or silver-plated cuff bracelets with buoys on each end, hand-painted with color enamel.
“My golden retriever is named Buoy,” Rooney said. “I became obsessed with buoys, I guess.”
Her company is called Maine Melon. Why? When Rooney was born, her sister, a toddler at the time, couldn’t say Maryellen. She called her Mary Melon, “and my nickname has been Melon my entire life.”
Rooney tried her best to find someone in Maine to manufacture the sleek buoy cuffs, but said she had to turn to a manufacturer in Rhode Island, keeping it regional. (She makes the rope bracelets herself.) The cuffs cost $85 and come in a variety of colors. They’re sold online, and at Springer’s Jewelers in Portland and Dwellings in Falmouth.
Rooney also makes metal cuffs inspired by dock cleats, the metal objects on a dock around which a rope can be tied to secure a vessel. She says the cuffs symbolize “keeping the ones you love near to you” so you will never drift apart.