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Jeweler David Yurman opens Michigan Avenue boutique, keeps the brand fresh

Chicago Tribune

Legendary jewelry designer David Yurman has been creating chic designs for nearly 40 years. After starting out as a sculptor, Yurman quickly began producing wearable art, and over the years, his classic-with-a-twist designs have garnered him legions of fans. His iconic Cable Bracelet, first created in 1983, has been produced in numerous iterations, from elegantly minimal to heavily embellished, and has become recognized as his signature motif.

Along with his wife and partner, Sybil, and their son, Evan, who is chief creative officer, Yurman continues to expand the brand, gaining a new generation of clients as he goes.

I caught up with Yurman at his newly opened boutique in Chicago, to talk about his creative process and a few of his favorite things.

This is an edited transcript.

Q: You started out in 1980. What is the secret of your brand’s success?

A: I think that the reasons are still the same. We’re a craft-art-founded company. We’re not a fashion brand, although, if you’re living in this moment, you can’t not be touched by fashion.

Q: How did you make the change from being a sculptor to being a jewelry designer? With fine art, isn’t there more freedom to do what you want?

A: I thought so, too, but the reality is there’s no total freedom anywhere. As Bob Dylan said, “We all have to answer to someone.’’ I was in high school, and I was making (bronze) sculptures. They were all small, figurative pieces. I sculpted halfway through the alphabet of hand signing. I had all these little hands around, so I put loops on them, got leather laces and sold them in the cafeteria for $5.

Q: What’s the brand’s aesthetic?

A: It’s rooted in a classicism. (The jewelry is) kind of relaxed; it’s not fussy. There are sculptural lines. I think what signifies my jewelry more than anything is a sense of balance and proportion.

I came up through nine years of apprenticing. I worked with (sculptor) Jacques Lipchitz — classic, classic training — (and) Theodore Roszak, who was very disciplined. I needed discipline, I was a little wild, but I was fine with discipline as long as I liked the subject.

An amethyst and diamond version of David Yurman’s iconic Cable Bracelet and the DY Signature Pinky Ring with Cognac diamonds in 18-karat rose gold. (David Yurman)

Q: How do you keep the brand fresh?

A: I think there’s a lot of dynamic conflict in the company that I allow. Sybil is an editor, and she’s the brand watchdog.

Q: Is designing minimal pieces like your Continuance necklace more difficult than designing more elaborate pieces?

A: With Continuance, we did seven iterations that I know of until we got it. It’s an asymmetric twist with a loop. Those (more elaborate designs) are easier — you can hide more there. This one’s unclothed; it’s just the rhythm of it.

Q: Your new Chicago boutique devoted a large space to men’s jewelry. Men can be funny about wearing jewelry. Is it difficult building a men’s audience?

A: I think so. But it’s so rich — they’re out there. The men’s line is very masculine. The men’s line has a higher attention to detail than the women’s line. They go back and hand-finish so many pieces. They’re all hand-engraved. My approach (to the men’s line) is give it to my son and let him design it. He’s been doing it for nine years.

Q: What music do you listen to at work?

A: To get in my own zone, I’ve been listening to Charlie Musselwhite. Lately, I’ve been listing to a lot of Sonny Boy Williamson — a lot of harmonica. Then I’ll listen to Pablo Casals if I’m drawing, or the Rolling Stones if I need a break.

The bronze Dante necklace that Yurman made for his wife, Sybil, in the 1970s, and a Barrels Bracelet with diamonds and amazonite in 18-karat gold from Yurman’s new collection. (David Yurman)

Q: If you weren’t a jeweler, what would you be doing?

A: Neurobiology. Biophysics. I think it’s a little more, you know, life-saving, and it’s really interesting. Understanding how a jellyfish actually responds — and can we learn something from the world around us.

Q: What’s the most important lesson that this journey has taught you

A: Be careful of what you wish for; you may get it. What do you do with it now?

A few of David Yurman’s favorite things:

Item I can always be found with: Pilot razor pen

Painter: Cy Twombly

Sculptor: Jacques Lipchitz

Reading: Western Horseman magazine

Way to relax: I don’t

Destination to get inspired: It’s between the Western wilderness — Montana, Wyoming — and small Italian towns.

Restaurant: Giorgione

Style icon: Bruce Willis. I think he’s underrated.

Indulgence: Reining. Riding Western horses.

 

Article Provided By: Chicago Tribune

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David and Sybil Yurman: Out of Africa…and the Subconscious

When the SoHo jewelry-design power couple David and Sybil Yurman bought the adjacent penthouse in their building two years ago, converting much of it into studio space, it gave them the opportunity to stretch out stylishly in their original loft just across the hall. Since then they have been rearranging and adding to their collections of furniture and art.

The masks are mostly African in origin or inspiration. Other objects have an Asian aesthetic. A few of Mr. Yurman’s jewelry pieces and small sculptures — he began his career as an apprentice to Jacques Lipchitz — and Ms. Yurman’s paintings are included too.

Their favorite pieces enjoy places of honor on a living room cabinet, but arrangements are not firmly fixed. “It’s constantly evolving depending on where David and I have been and the mood of the day,” Ms. Yurman said. “I’ll just wake up from a dream about being in Morocco. Then I’ll want something that came from the windows of a harem.” She pointed to a marble sculpture from Morocco adorning a wall. “My tastes are like a consistent river that runs through me,” she continued. “I don’t think of myself as a collector. I don’t even use the word ‘collect.’”

Mr. Yurman piped up: “Actually, we collect a lot. Constantly.”

His wife just smiled.

These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Masks from the Fang, a Central African people from Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

ALEX WELSH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

How do you decide what you display?

SYBIL YURMAN What attracts me are things that have memories attached from my own life. I often paint at night and they influence me. One of David’s sculptures, for example, which I absolutely love, is the story of Icarus, which always inspires me.

DAVID YURMAN The piece was interesting to do, but it wasn’t a self-portrait. Although maybe that’s what I’ll look like when I get really old.

When it comes to furniture and design, you clearly appreciate midcentury modern. Where does your furniture come from?

MS. YURMAN About 15 years ago we went to Denmark and bought beautiful Danish pieces and shipped them back to America. The container included two Ole Wanscher tambour cabinets and a dining room table that belonged to the writer Isak Dinesen. My father, Murray, was a furniture designer and poet. He loved Danish design and joinery. He used to pull me out of school to go on scavenger hunts for furniture and treasures.

You mentioned you care a great deal about things Japanese.

MS. YURMAN It goes back to my father and the year he spent with the Navy in Japan. He was on one of the first ships into Japan after the armistice. He would send home pictures of himself surrounded by little Japanese schoolchildren. He brought just one thing back, this carving of Fukurokuju, the Japanese deity of prosperity. My father thought this piece was exquisite and whoever created it was a true artist. Years later he gave me the ceramic piece we have on the cabinet now. This piece is totally different. It has a rough glaze finish. I’ve made raku pieces that have the same roughness and crudeness. It’s the aesthetic of the wabi-sabi school of pottery. It’s about accepting imperfection and accident.

What’s up with these pictures of mounds?

MS. YURMAN Well, I painted them. I truly don’t know if they’re mounds or houses. They come out of my subconscious. The pictures here are actually prints. I sold the originals years ago, which helped finance the business for quite a while.

The picture of a mermaid riding a whale’s tail — surely there’s a backstory.

MS. YURMAN It’s by Jeannie Weissglass, a local artist. I grew up involved in the story of “Moby-Dick.” My father would tell it to me often, about what happens when you’re involved in pride and spend your life involved with an adversary. When I saw the mermaid riding on the whale’s tail, I was touched by it.

You have quite a few masks and totems. Where do they come from?

MR. YURMAN From all over. One on the table my grandchildren love. Unfortunately, they tend to take them apart. One is pre-Columbian. We bought it at the Park Avenue Armory. It’s a burial piece.

MS. YURMAN It might have been used to club somebody.

Does it have a ceremonial use?

MR. YURMAN Not for us, hopefully.

 

Article Provided By: The New York Times

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Prayers for Las Vegas

Prayers and Condolences

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and their loved ones. And also, to the first responders, medical professionals, counselors and others who have spent and will continue to spend countless hours caring and helping the victims and their families.

Want to Help?

The County Commissioner has set up a page where donations are being collected. Funds will be used to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families. If If you’d like to support them, please contribute to this fund.

Our community is grateful for the outpouring of support from folks all across the nation and all around the world. Tens of thousands of people have made their voices heard and are standing up to hate and standing together to support the victims and their families during this difficult time. We want to thank you for your generous contributions.

Later this week, we will make an announcement about the process to distribute the funds. We are working in lockstep with all state and local officials, GoFundMe, the Direct Impact Fund, and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) to ensure the funds get distributed directly to the victims and families. We will provide additional information about this process in the coming days.

We want to thank all of you who contributed what you could to support the victims following this heinous attack. We also want to thank MGM, Cosmopolitan, Steve Cloobeck and Diamond Resorts International, Wayne and Kathleen Newton, the Raiders, the NFL Foundation, and GoFundMe for their large contributions to our fund. Our work to help rebuild our community is just beginning and we want to thank you for standing with us during this difficult time.

We have been in touch with GoFundMe since the beginning and they have been a trusted partner from the moment this campaign launched. The support for this campaign has been extraordinary, and donors have had understandable questions about GoFundMe’s fees. GoFundMe has committed significant resources to the management and distribution of these funds in the most ethical, effective, and timely way, and they have also donated $150,000 to directly help victims and their families.

If you’d like to support the victims and their families, we encourage you to contribute to this fund.

If you cannot financially support the victims, here’s some additional information on other ways to help:

Give Blood –

United Blood Services will take donations by appointment only. For more visit:http://www.unitedbloodservices.org/lv/

Physical Donations –

If you would like to donate water, canned goods, or non-perishable items, please visit Three Square and Catholic Charities: https://www.threesquare.org/ orhttps://www.catholiccharities.com/. We appreciate the outpouring of support, but the substations cannot currently manage the physical donations and we kindly ask you donate them to the organizations to ensure their distribution.

As we have stated, if you are missing a loved one, please call 1-800-536-9488.

For additional information visit:

https://redrock.clarkcountynv.gov/FAC/index.html

https://www.fbi.gov/resources/victim-assistance/seeking-victim-information/assistance-for-victims-of-the-harvest-music-festival-shooting-in-las-vegas

 

Article Provided By: Las Vegas Victims Fund/GoFundMe

 

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Our Prayers

With near-hurricane force winds lashing the Florida Keys, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that “Irma is forecast to restrengthen” as it approaches mainland Florida. Hurricane Irma has hit the Keys with a Cat. 4 Storm on September 10th, destroying homes and, knocking out power to more than 6.8 million people. There was an order of 6.3 million people to evacuate the southeastern coastal regions, at least 25 people have died from this storm. The damage estimate from the Irma is up to $100 billion according to data modeling firm Enki Research, more than the last hurricanes that have hit the Flordia coastline.

The Red Cross is providing relief in Flordia which has been affected by Hurricane Irma. Supplies include: Food, Water, hygiene supplies, and other relief items. Geiss & Sons Jewelers Greenville would like to ask our friends to pray with us for those affected by Hurricane Irma. Please know you and your families are in our thoughts. Remember to donate to the Red Cross to aid all those affected by the hurricane.