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BY LAURIE BROOKINS | January 24, 2013 | Style & Beauty
One-of-a-kind Linked Stone necklace features chocolate and peach moonstones, Madeira citrine, morganite, and orange and pink sapphires.
Yurman keeps stones of different sizes, textures, and hues on his design table for inspiration.
Yurman’s Spring ad campaign features Gisele Bündchen.
Citrine and lemon citrine earrings from Yurman’s Spring collection.
Yurman’s boutique at The Forum Shops at Caesars.
David Yurman likens himself to a chef when it comes to the ingredients that go into his much-coveted jewelry, those bold and brilliant pieces often crafted in sinewy twists of cable and splashed with stones in dazzling hues. “It’s like going to the market early in the morning,” he says of his unending quest for gems that spark inspiration. “You see what’s in season, what looks fresh, how much you can get, and then of course how much it will cost. I shop materials by my eye; it takes a lot of knowledge to look in barrels at chunks of rock and see what potential is there.”
More than three decades have passed since Yurman, who as a teenager apprenticed as a sculptor, transferred his artistic leanings into the language of jewelry. And yet the undisputed king of cable admits that little has changed in his process, in the desire to hold a rough stone in his hand—to romance it, as the jewelry vernacular goes—and imagine its sparkling future. “I feel like I’m still in my 20s and every day is a new adventure,” Yurman says, noting that Tucson in February and Basel in April are requisite stops on his gemstone circuit. “I can’t wait until February 1 comes around, so my son, Evan, and I can jump on a plane and spend the week in Tucson, up early every morning to talk to dealers and see what’s new.” (Yurman’s business indeed remains a family affair, as he shares an office and partners’ desk with Sybil, his wife of 33 years, while the 31-year-old Evan, design director of the men’s and timepiece collections, “was correcting my sketches when he was 12 years old.”)
For the Spring collection that just arrived in stores—locally at his Forum Shops boutique—Yurman is indeed exploring new directions, making bolder statements, largely through his use of color. “I liked the idea of mixing and matching colors that perhaps you don’t often see together, that might feel a bit odd, and yet the result is warm and refreshing,” he says. “I took tones like citrus/lemony colors and mixed them with soft browns, or peachy colors with orange-reds. I wanted to be adventurous with color, to combine muted with bright or ombre tones with an accent of something else. It seems bizarrely simple, and yet the results have been so successful.”
Las Vegas will be key for the collection, Yurman says, not only because the city ranks among his best markets, but also because its shoppers love color. Such thoughts are top-of-mind as the designer notes he’ll place one-of-a-kind pieces from Spring exclusively in his Forum Shops boutique. “Bold jewelry sells in Las Vegas,” he says. “It’s a client who’s seeking really unique pieces. You can’t just fill up the cases with the pieces they can find everywhere. The people in our stores love to be able to say, ‘This is a limited edition,’ or ‘You won’t find this anywhere else.’” In other words, Yurman knows, not unlike that unfinished stone, he must romance the client a little, as well.
Ask Yurman to name his favorite pieces from spring, and he doesn’t hesitate: his Cable Wrap grouping, in which stones of different hues are wrapped in his now-iconic cable wire, as well as new shapes, such as teardrops and elongated ovals, that he’s mixed into his designs. But it’s color that Yurman says is key, a notable thought given that often-unconventional mixes of colors and prints have dominated ready-to-wear trends in recent seasons, yet it’s undeniably forward-thinking to apply the concept to anything that falls into an investment category like fine jewelry. “But I don’t see them as investment pieces—it’s not like a 12-carat diamond you’d keep in a bank vault,” Yurman says. “There is an emotional investment in our pieces, and color is often the emotion of a collection. It really sets the tone for the piece, especially when you’re dealing with combinations of colors, because they create a tension or they could be sympathetic, and then you’re dealing with opacities or cabochons or facets, each of which has an impact on color. One of the things I’m trying to do lately is stay out of the way of the stones and really allow them to be the star.”
If you’ve ever witnessed Yurman fans at one of his personal appearances, the frenzy created by devotees of those ubiquitous cable bracelets, you know he’ll never be replaced as the true star of the equation. As he explains the concept behind another grouping in his Spring collection, the aptly titled Renaissance, it’s clear Yurman relishes the adventures, stone searches and otherwise, that lie ahead. “I love taking a piece from the past and finding new ways to reinterpret it—we change the color, change some of the materials, or change the way it’s constructed,” he says. “By doing this, we’re breathing new life into classics. And that sense of discovery, I’ll never tire of it.” The Forum Shops at Caesars, 702-794-4545
photography by evan sung