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Yurman, David

pieces jewelry look yurman’s

B. c. 1940

Birthplace: New York

Award: Honoree, Lab School of Washington, D.C., 1998

In the late twentieth-century fine-jewelry arena, designer David Yurman reigned supreme. Early in his career, he recognized the potential of combining the craftsmanship and beauty of fine jewelry with current fashion aesthetics to create a distinctive look, coveted by a cultlike following of American women. Yurman is best known for his cable motif, a twisted, ropelike tube of silver and/or gold, used in almost all of his pieces. His designs, which defined the look of fashionable jewelry during the 1980s and 1990s, were desired by a large group of avid collectors.

Yurman and his wife/partner, Sybil, began as artists who have collaborated since the late 1970s on their signature jewelry line. He is a sculptor and metallurgist, and she is a respected painter. (A collection of the Yurmans’ artwork is on permanent display in their New York gallery, which is contained within their Madison Avenue store.) Together they paved the way for the popularization of a new category of fine jewelry—designer branded jewelry—which was virtually nonexistent prior to the introduction and active promotion of the David Yurman brand.

The design philosophy exhibited in Yurman’s sterling silver and 18k-gold pieces is based on the forms and symbols of the ancient architectural pieces that inspire him. His distinctive combinations of bezel-set colored stones and his familiar cable motif, which he has managed to keep fresh with subtle design changes from season to season, have been interpreted in bracelets, earrings, rings, and neckpieces, as well as in men’s accessories, from cuff links to belt buckles. Most recently, his Swiss-made timepieces, presented under the name of David Yurman’s Thoroughbred Collection, have been added to his growing array of highly recognizable and desirable pieces. Yurman’s jewelry is among the most imitated in the industry. It is for this reason that he was recently awarded creative ownership of his cable look. All Yurman pieces are copyrighted and hallmarked.

There is no doubt that the widespread availability of the product, coupled with strong and successful branding efforts, has greatly contributed to making the David Yurman name famous; however, the appeal of his modern classics and the company’s dedication to quality should not be underestimated.

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