On the advice he’d give to aspiring jewellery makers and having a female President
American luxury jeweller David Yurman have unveiled their new pinky ring collection this season.
Available in 8 vivid colours, the Cable Collectible pinky rings include a heart, an evil eye, a compass and a princes-cut diamond motif set in 18K gold. Each ring pays homage to the jewellery historically worn on the pinky finger throughout history to denote the wearer’s name and family heritage.
The modern interpretations are available at Bloomingdale’s Dubai.
We sat down with David Yurman to talk all things the advice he’d give to aspiring jewellery makers, what it’s like to work alongside his wife and celebrating women at the helm of business.
How much do you feel the brand has evolved since it launched in 1980?
In many ways, the brand continues to embody the same values it always has – for us, it’s about making pieces we love and staying true to our origins as artists. Of course, over time, we’ve continued to evolve our design aesthetic, not only to provide exciting pieces for our long-time customers who are always looking for something new from the brand but also to reach those younger consumers who are thinking about purchasing their first piece of fine jewelry.
Sybil and yourself likened the brand’s foundation to an ‘art project’. Do you still stand by that?
Our brand was never about setting out to create a successful business, it’s always been about creating something beautiful and being able to share it with the world. In that way, it’s still very much our “art project” and something we do because we’re passionate about it.
My background as a sculptor and Sybil’s as a painter also very much continues to guide our designs – the forms we create and the mix of colors and hues we use within each of our collections are inspired by our artistic origins.
You’ve appointed a female President (Carol Pennelli). How important is it to celebrate women at the helm?
It’s very important to us to have a strong representation of women at David Yurman – we pride ourselves on our female-led teams with 75% of the executive committee and almost 70% of overall staff of the company being women.
This year, we co-executive produced This Changes Everything – a documentary directed by Tom Donahue and executive produced by Geena Davis, which debuted at TIFF. The documentary touches on issues of gender parity in Hollywood and we were excited to work closely on a project that addresses a cause that’s very important to us as a company.
The brand has recently launched in Australia. What other regions/markets have you set your sights on?
Although David Yurman is quintessentially American, we have a growing global presence. We’re in France, Dubai, Canada, Mexico, and most recently launched in Sydney, Australia. Next, we’re looking at London and the U.K. in general.
Which public figure encapsulates the David Yurman ethos?
We’ve been so lucky to collaborate with a number of super talented men and women over the years. Kate Moss is someone who has been a constant partner of the brand and she really embodies our image in so many ways.
Kate is very strong. She’s got an inner power and inner beauty and she’s independent. Often our customers are very independent women and Kate is such a great representation of that spirit.
Z-Gen star Amandla Stenberg hosted a celebration dinner for your Pinky Ring collection. Do you think that Hollywood ingénues are perhaps more influential than their predecessors now that we’re in an Instagram age?
It’s been fantastic to work with Amandla Stenberg this year, among other young, influential Hollywood ingenues. They really represent a new generation of values, beliefs —and with social media their voices can be heard more widely and more easily than their predecessors. That said, their predecessors have certainly paved the way for them and continue to play a significant role in Hollywood and beyond.
Talk us through your Pinky Ring collection. What was the influence behind it?
I’ve always been interested in taking something classic, with historic pedigree, and breathing new life into it—our Pinky Rings do just that. We’ve designed many iterations of them over the years, from diamond pavé to classic 18k gold—they’ve become synonymous with the brand.
This year we launched the newest collection of pinky rings in brightly colored ceramic. They’re fun, bold and really appeal to our younger consumers.
What high-profile figure would you love to see wear David Yurman?
A woman who is a leader, a business owner, a CEO, or a top designer —someone who is recognized for her accomplishments in whatever field that she’s working in whether it’s the arts, sciences or business. She’s got a sense of her own ambitions and desires.
You launched an intersectionality bracelet this month. What was the motivation behind that?
The intersectionality bracelet launched in tandem with the documentary, This Changes Everything, that we co-executive produced. It is a box chain link ID style that’s an iconic brand design for both men and women – featuring a wheel of lines emanating from an equal sign that Geena Davis designed, which represents intersectionality.
Do you think gender neutral jewellery is a passing fad or do you think it’s here to stay?
This is a trend we’ve seen growing over the last few years – specifically women buying our men’s pieces. And it’s something that we’ve seen across the fashion industry as well. Many brands have recently shown their women’s collections on male models and vice versa. I think this is something that will continue to grow and that designers are becoming more conscious of – this idea of designing pieces without a specific gender in mind.
You started a men’s line 14 years ago yet only recently we’ve seen renowned public male figures sporting jewellery, like Jayden Smith, – do you think it’s become more acceptable for men to wear jewellery?
Men’s jewelry is our fastest growing category and we’ve definitely seen a resurgence of men purchasing jewelry. More and more, men are looking for new ways to express their individual styles and personality – jewelry is a great way to do that, whether it’s a simple silver cuff, or a more elaborate design with black diamonds or a unique material like forged carbon.
One area of men’s jewelry we’ve seen increased interest in most recently is wedding bands. Men no longer just want a simple gold or platinum band – they may want different styles for different occasions, and we often see grooms purchasing more than one band with us.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned in the jewellery business?
There are two lessons. The first one is to be careful of what you wish for since you may get it. Think it out and collaborate. It’s not a private dream. The second lesson —which is the hardest for me — is to take control of your calendar.
What’s the secret to working in business with your other half?
The reality of this company is that it’s a family, and Sybil and I have built this company from the ground up together, so it’s all we’ve ever known!
Sybil is the curator – she’s an editor, she’s a stylist, she’s an instigator and an innovator. She’s really a merchant. She processes information about the business of the jewelry, and sales, and customers. On the other hand, I focus more on the design of each piece – the form, the wearability, the technology we incorporate into our pieces.
What advice would you give to aspiring jewellery makers?
What has made our brand successful is that we always pursued it with passion for our craft, rather than chasing after any business or financial objectives. Creating jewelry is really an art and I encourage young, aspiring jewelers to view it as such when they design their pieces. It’s important to have an unwavering point of view, and to create pieces that you love.
What’s next for David Yurman?
2019 will be a very exciting year for the brand – we have a number of partnerships, collaborations and some significant milestones coming up, as well as retail expansions both in the U.S and internationally planned. It will be a great time of evolution for our brand, and we’re excited to share it with our customers. Stay tuned!
David Yurman’s new Pinky Ring collection can be found at Bloomingdale’s Dubai.
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