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New York City,
|David Yurman, Co-Founder/CEO|
Sybil Yurman, Co-Founder
David Yurman Enterprises LLC is a privately held American jewelry company founded by David Yurman (born October 12, 1942 in New York City) and Sybil Yurman (born December 10, 1942 in New York City) and headquartered in New York City. There are currently 33 David Yurman boutiques in the United States and 11 international boutiques.
David Yurman grew up in the Bronx. At age 15 he met a Cuban welder and sculptor named Ernesto Gonzalez who taught him welding techniques. After a year at New York University, Yurman left college and spent the next five years hitchhiking between New York's Greenwich Village, Venice, California, and Big Sur, immersing himself in the Beatnik and San Francisco Renaissance cultural movements. In the early 1960s, Yurman apprenticed for several years with modernist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz. He also established his own studio in Greenwich Village and worked for various sculptors, including Theodore Roszak and Edward Meshekoff, doing large-scale public works. At Lincoln Center, Yurman helped create the railings of the promenade in the David H. Koch Theater, designed by Phillip Johnson. He also worked on the eagle sculpture commissioned for the James L. Watson Court of International Trade in New York City. In the late 1960s, Yurman became the shop foreman for sculptor Hans Van de Bovenkamp and it was in this studio that Yurman met the painter Sybil Kleinrock, his future wife and business partner.
The transition to jewelry
In the early 1970s, Yurman and Kleinrock moved to Carmel in upstate New York and formed a company called Putnam Art Works which specialized in sculptural jewelry. Throughout the next decade they exhibited their jewelry designs, sculptures, and paintings at various galleries and craft fairs. They became key figures in the American craft movement. Through Putnam Art Works, the Yurmans learned the marketplace for fine crafts and artisanal jewelry. They married in 1979 and founded the David Yurman company a year later, with Sybil Yurman acting as a co-creator and collaborator in all facets of the business. Their son, Evan Yurman, was born on January 31, 1982.
In 1977, Yurman was chosen as one of twelve jewelers to exhibit at the first New Designer Gallery at the Retail Jewelers of America Show (RJA) in New York City, now recognized as a pivotal moment when traditional artisans connected with established merchandisers. During the 1980s and 1990s, the David Yurman company was at the forefront of the emerging category of American designer jewelry.
In 2003, Evan Yurman joined the company, and in 2004 he became Design Director of the Men's and Timepiece Collections. In 2009, he launched an exclusive collection of high jewelry and began overseeing the company's Wedding Collection, launched in 2006.
Creation of cable
In 1982, Yurman designed what became his signature piece, the cable bracelet: a twisted helix adorned with gemstones on its end caps. He called the bracelet and related designs "Renaissance," and it has become one of his most enduring collections. Created through an innovative process Yurman pioneered, the cable motif was awarded two rare design trademarks in the United States since it was instantly recognizable as his signature form. His cable design evolved to become the thread that connects all of his collections.
Innovation in design
Yurman creates collections in sterling silver and gold, and is particularly recognized for his mixed metal designs. Many sterling pieces have pavé diamonds—notably, he was the first major jeweler to set diamonds in silver. He calls this category Silver Ice, and it was revolutionary in making diamonds an everyday luxury. Yurman is also known for inventive stone cuts, most notably the cushion cut for the Albion Collection. The men's division, unique in the industry, is known for featuring non-traditional materials such as titanium, carbon fiber, and meteorite.
An advertising revolution
In 2000, David and Sybil Yurman collaborated with the David Lipman advertising agency and photographer Peter Lindbergh for their first advertising campaign that was shot in St. Barts with Amber Valletta as the face of the brand. It was a lifestyle campaign, that communicated that jewelry could be an emotional experience for the wearer. In the following years, many prominent models and actresses such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Naomi Watts, Gisele Bündchen, Joan Smalls, Taylor Hill, and Natalia Vodianova have also appeared in iconic David Yurman advertising campaigns.
The cable book
In 2017, Rizzoli published David Yurman Cable, the brand's first book. The monograph explores cable as an archetypal form and Yurman's artistic use of it as his signature through essays by Paul Greenhalgh, William Norwich, and Carine Roitfeld, and a foreword by Sybil and David Yurman.
Judgment against counterfeiters
In January 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a default judgment in favor of David Yurman, awarding the company $1,550,000 and a permanent injunction against 31 defendants. The defendants operated a network of websites infringing on the company's trademarks, selling counterfeit David Yurman goods.
Honors and awards
1980 – Intergold Award from the World Gold Council for a gold wire and diamond necklace design that was the forerunner of the cable motif
1981 – Designer of the Year from the Cultured Pearl Associations of America and Japan for innovative use of pearls
2003 – Star Gazer award from Fashion Group International
2004 – Lifetime Achievement Award at the JIC Gem Awards
2007 – Style Etoile Award from Savannah College of Art and Design
2011 – Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gem Society, the first time a jewelry designer received this award
2013 – Couture Human Spirit Award from the Couture Show
The Yurmans formalized a lifelong commitment to charitable causes by establishing the David & Sybil Yurman Humanitarian and Arts Foundation in 2001. The foundation presents David Yurman Angel Awards to individuals who support charities and the arts through their donations and volunteerism. Past recipients include Steven Spielberg, Elton John, and Leonard Slatkin. The foundation also provides support for a variety of charitable initiatives, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, Studio In a School, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. David Yurman also created a pin for the Silver Shield Foundation benefitting the families of New York City firefighters and policemen. An avid horseback rider, David Yurman supports a number of charitable equestrian initiatives as well including Gallop NYC therapeutic horsemanship and the Gleneayre Equestrian Foundation.
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- David Yurman
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