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Apr

02

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Guest Contributor

Sculptural jewelry designs honor David Yurman's love and partnership with wife Sybil in an expanded boutique at NorthPark. 

INTERVIEW BY KIMBERLY SCHLEGEL WHITMAN

DAVID YURMAN BEGAN HIS CAREER AS A SCULPTOR IN THE EARLY 1960S AND APPRENTICED FOR MASTERS JACQUES LIPCHITZ AND THEODORE ROSZAK. 

You can spot the Cable bracelets from a mile away along with the signature mixed metals, and visits to the expansive David Yurman boutique at NorthPark Center cement the depth of the brand. But the beginning of this renowned jeweler’s story is perhaps lesser known.

From his early work as a sculptor to the enduring partnership he shares with his wife, Sybil, I hope you will enjoy learning more about this extraordinary jeweler and the creation of his timeless collections as much as I have.

YURMAN DESIGNED THE SCULPTED BRONZE DANTE NECKLACE AS A GIFT FOR SYBIL. 

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman: You spent many of your young adult years working with sculptors, artists and designers. What impact did those experiences have on your jewelry design?

David Yurman: Sculpture has been my passion and inspiration since the very beginning. The opportunity to work with influential artists such as Ernesto Gonzales, Jacques Lipchitz, Hans Van de Bovenkamp and Theodore Roszak was invaluable, especially at a time when my own work was evolving and I was discovering my artistic language and point of view. It wasn’t until I met my wife Sybil that I started creating sculptural jewelry as gifts for her. At an art opening in New York, the gallery owner fell in love with a piece she was wearing and asked if it was for sale. I answered “No” while she answered “Yes.” Sybil took the necklace off and left it at the gallery, and within a few hours, four necklaces were sold. This necklace, called “Dante,” marked the beginning of our artistic exploration within the art of jewelry, leading to the creation of Putnam Art Works and eventually David Yurman.

SOLARI CLUSTER RING WITH DIAMONDS IN 18K YELLOW GOLD. 

KSW: What is the original story of the brand David Yurman?

DYWe moved upstate to Carmel, New York, where we started Putnam Art Works and began our foray into jewelry. We were at the heart of the American craft movement, making buckles, belts and jewelry. “Works” was a popular term at the time, referring to making something by hand. The belt buckles and pieces I was making brought art and craft together, crossing those boundaries through direct-welded bronze sculpture. With Putnam Art Works, we displayed our paintings, sculpture work and artisanal jewelry designs. It was after we got married in 1979 that we founded David Yurman in 1980.

PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND LIFE: SYBIL AND DAVID YURMAN. 

KSW: It seems so appropriate that you celebrate love in so many ways through your jewelry because your partnership with your wife Sybil is inspiring. Tell us about that partnership and what it has meant to you.

DY: From the beginning, as a sculptor and a painter, Sybil and I responded to each other’s creative ideas. We work and collaborate together every day. I credit Sybil with bringing much of the beautiful color to our collections. Her works are lyrical with elemental forms expressed with a poet’s subtle color palette. Sybil’s X Painting became the inspiration for our enduring X Collection. As you can see with Solari, the “X” continually influences new designs and collections, in different and evolving ways. 

THE STORIED JEWELER'S X COLLECTION DREW INSPIRATION FROM SYBIL'S TREASURED X PAINTING. COURTESY OF DAVID YURMAN.  

NEW TO NORTHPARK

Debuting this spring at NorthPark Center, David Yurman’s newly expanded 3,450-square-foot boutique is second in size only to the Madison Avenue location in New York City. Designed by David and Sybil Yurman, the boutique echoes the brand’s aesthetic and the family’s unique artistic expression. Interiors are inspired by the colors of the jeweler’s most iconic gemstones and the hues in Sybil’s paintings, which are hung throughout the space. A heritage wall narrating the Yurmans’ journey from art to jewelry with examples of David’s early sculptures and wearable art pieces alongside current designs welcomes visitors at the entrance. A white gold-leaf decorative panel featuring a hand-applied pattern of the bluebonnet infuses the boutique’s main area, in homage to the Texas state flower. Other thoughtful touches include a men’s jewelry area, and a private salon serving as a destination to discover David Yurman Wedding and High Jewelry collections. 

THE NEW DAVID YURMAN BOUTIQUE AT NORTHPARK CENTER. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID YURMAN.

For more articles from NorthPark The Magazine, click here or pick up a copy today at NorthPark. 

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