David Yurman, the man behind the brand, can be described in many ways – sculptor, designer, artist. For the intents and purposes of the silver world, he is the ambassador of the white metal in fine jewellery circles. More often than not, when the market thinks of silver jewellery in luxury terms, the David Yurman brand inevitably springs to mind. Yurman has built a design empire revolving around his signature elegant styles with artisanal touches. The designer in him draws inspiration from nature and his surroundings; the sculptor in him combines architectural elements in graceful details; and the artist in him incorporates meaning from the organic and the existential. He pushes the envelope too on design. While the cable motif is his icon, Yurman experiments boldly with materials and concepts. He was one of the first contemporary designers to set diamonds in sterling silver. Gemstones spark his imagination – double faceting, carved gems, new stones such as Black Orchid (fusion of lavender amethyst and hematite) have made the brand’s range all the richer. SILVERSTYLES (SS) discusses branding and the future with David Yurman (DY).
SS: What is your design philosophy?
DY: The David Yurman design ideals are those of classicism, structure, sculptural form and the dynamic between the masculine and the feminine. The brand can be described as a family business run like a lifelong art project. The “signature look” of the twisted cable design of David Yurman stems from the very beginning of the brand when I was inspired by the twisted cables seen on the Brooklyn Bridge.
SS: What are the secrets of your brand’s success and longevity?
DY: What has kept the David Yurman business the strongest is our dedication to the craft and technique of jewellery design. We also have a firm commitment to personalised attention for our clients and we shall always fulfill our clients’ needs as well as surpass their expectations in terms of diversity in design.
SS: Since you founded the brand that carries your name in 1980, you have constantly raised the bar with innovation after innovation. What motivates you to always work towards new methods of craftsmanship and design?
DY: My approach towards jewellery craftsmanship and design is following and improving upon a vision. I am constantly available to inspiration.
SS: You call your brand “a family business run like a lifelong art project.” What do each of the Yurmans in this extremely artistic trio of yourself, your wife Sybil and son Evan (design director of the brand’s men’s collection) bring to the table?
DY: Sybil is more focused on the marketing while my son and I are more focused on design and product development. However, we have similar points of views or aesthetics, and strong opinions. That’s where the fun begins. If we are all shaking our heads “no,” something is wrong!
SS: You’re often cited as the best success story in the silver jewellery world. What advice can you give up-and-coming jewellery designers who wish to follow in your footsteps?
DY: I think the most important thing for up-and-coming jewellery designers is to constantly push the boundaries of the material and to have a uniquely defined vision. Without an overarching vision and constant development and change, it is difficult to sustain your brand in the current market.
SS: Has silver finally gained acceptance as fine jewellery?
DY: Silver has evolved over the years to become accepted in the fine-jewellery catalogue, especially when it is paired with fine jewels and gemstones. Take our brand for example. We often pair silver with many different stones and diamonds, making our pieces part of the fine-jewellery category.
SS: What do you like about silver?
DY: I really like silver as a metal for the jewellery I make because of its versatility and malleability. Silver goes well with many, many stones and can be welded to make many different designs.
SS: What is your proudest achievement in your illustrious career?
DY: (I would say) opening our townhouse shop on Madison Avenue to celebrate our 30th Anniversary.
SS: David Yurman is now an iconic lifestyle brand that encompasses jewellery, watches and fragrances. What else is left to be done?
DY: Aside from jewellery, watches and fragrances, we have recently also launched an eyewear line, optic and sun. We also have looked at small leather products in Italy but I’m not sure if we’re going to also start designing bags.
SS: What is your ultimate vision for the David Yurman brand?
DY: I would really like to see more of our shops open in Asia and, of course, continue our legacy of creating innovative, timeless and versatile pieces for our customers.