A few weeks ago, I stopped by David Yurman’s Madison Avenue townhouse boutique for the first time since it opened last year. The gorgeous three-floor, 2,000 square-foot space carries the entire Yurman range, along with a one-of-a-kind High Jewelry collection and a floor dedicated to brides and grooms. There’s also a private parlor and by-appointment viewings. Among the collections that have been spearheaded by David Yurman’s son, the brand’s design director Evan Yurman, are the wedding, men's, and High Jewelry collections, all of which offer interesting takes on the brand's signature aesthetic. We spoke to Yurman about his design approach, his most memorable pieces, and more.
The Fashion Spot: Did you always know you wanted to get into jewelry design?
Evan Yurman: I have always been passionate about various forms of design — jewelry was something that I grew into naturally.
tFS: What's the first piece you ever designed?
EY: A pair of cufflinks for my father.
tFS: Were you ever intimated having such a legendary father in the business?
EY: No, working alongside my father has been an amazing experience. He has always been very encouraging and nurturing of my talent. His love of art, sculpture, and design, and his creative vision for the David Yurman brand have been a great source of inspiration to me.
tFS: What's the best advice David Yurman ever gave you?
EY: My father has given me lots of important and valuable advice over the years, but the best has probably been “pursue your passion.”
tFS: Do you take a different approach when designing for men versus women?
EY: I view design as a form of creative expression and apply the same thought process to creating jewelry for both men and women.
tFS: What's the most memorable piece you've ever designed?
EY: I like to think that all of the pieces I design are memorable in their own unique way, but a recent collection I’m particularly proud of is the Ancestrale Limited Edition Timepiece collection, which was inspired by my trip to the Cognac region of France. The collection features three highly esteemed complications — Tourbillion, Jumping Hands, and Small Seconds — all of which are among the most difficult and complex to master.
tFS: How did your High Jewelry line come about?
EY: I have always been interested in and inspired by stones. For me, it’s often the gems that create the intrigue in jewelry. Many of my designs emanate from exploring unique and exceptional stones, and incorporating them into the collection in unexpected ways. After many years of creating custom pieces for clients, my father and I decided it would be beneficial to add a High Jewelry line to the existing collection, not only to increase our depth and range but mainly to provide our clients with beautiful, stand-out pieces that they cannot find anywhere else
tFS: A few of your High Jewelry pieces seem to have a slight gothic, antique feel to them. Is that intentional?
EY: The collection features many unique shapes and settings that highlight the gems, which are the inspiration for the designs. Some of the pieces do have a Baroque motif, which I designed intentionally to complement and showcase the stones.
tFS: David Yurman is known so much for colored gemstones and the cord motif. Is there ever a fear when branching out from that?
EY: The use of colored gemstones and the iconic cable motif are signature elements of the David Yurman design aesthetic and I believe it’s important to stay true to the brand’s hallmarks. Of course, I also enjoy challenging myself to continually evolve my designs and create new signatures for the brand.
tFS: Do you wear jewelry day-to-day?
EY: Yes, I usually have on several pieces, including my wedding band. I think that every man should embrace wearing jewelry and timepieces in his daily life.
tFS: What do you think are the jewelry must-haves for women? For men?
EY: Jewelry in all forms is a must-have for both men and women — I think the specific pieces depend on the person. I do think that a great investment timepiece is an essential.