Designer Spotlights

  • EraGem Presents Orlando Orlandini of Firenze Atelier

    Orlando Orlandini Braided Coil Diamond Necklace 18K Yellow Gold Orlando Orlandini Braided Coil Diamond Necklace. Click here to learn more. Photo ©2019 EraGem Jewelry.


    This gorgeous braided gold coil diamond necklace is a remarkable jewel designed by Orlando Orlandini. Orlando Orlandini works with his family out of his home atelier in the hills of Chianti, just outside of Florence, Italy.


    Atelier Firenze

    In 1983, Orlando and his family purchased an ancient convent which dates back to the 1300s. Rumors abound that Leonardo da Vinci once lodged there.

    Driven by a vision to create the ideal space to experiment with gold, Orlando transformed the convent into a studio atelier. He also carved a home out of the space for himself, his wife Carmela, and his children Lidia and Paladino.

    While transforming the convent, he and his family also delved deeply into the technical and aesthetic aspects of working with gold. Both Orlando and his son, Paladino, work solely by hand using ancient techniques in goldsmithing.

    Today, Atelier Firenze employs expert goldsmiths trained specifically by Paladino and Orlando. Each piece of jewelry is fashioned by hand. The atelier specializes in one-of-a-kind jewels and small batches of limited-edition collections.

    The driving philosophies underlying the work at Atelier Firenze are twofold. First of all, the atelier transforms the solid metal gold into wearable golden fabrics which interact with light in a unique and beautiful way. Woven strands of gold result in draping, silken jewels which feel smooth against the skin.

    Created with many small surfaces, these jewels reflect light almost as brilliantly as the diamonds that accent them. This gem-like quality leads to the second underlying philosophy of the atelier, the ideals of harmony and beauty.


    Orlando Orlandini

    Orlando Orlandini believes that women personify the highest ideals of beauty and harmony. As a result, he aims to create jewelry that complements every woman's beauty in a unique and personal way.

    His artistic parents infused Orlando with these ideals from a very early age. His father sculpted, and his mother painted watercolors. Not surprisingly, Orlando studied sculpture at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome.

    Eventually, he became enamored with gold. His fascination with gold steered him in the direction of jewelry manufacture. For 20 years, he worked for a commercial jewelry company, eventually earning the title of director of design.

    When he finally made the decision with his family to strike out on his own, gold drove his ambition. The endless possibilities of such a malleable, yet durable material inspired his imagination.

    He experimented with gold in all its forms and eventually developed his signature style. Soft, wearable gold, sometimes coiled, sometimes woven. Each piece hand made using old world traditions, imbued with classical design elements which outlast passing trends.

    Today, he and his family continue to work side by side, leading a small workforce of goldsmiths trained in the Atelier Firenze style. Every handmade Orlandini jewel caresses the woman who wears it and adds class, style, and history to her jewelry collection.

  • Bellarri Jewelry - Focus on Designer Series

    Bellarri Custom Cut Gemstone Enhancer Pendant 18K Bellarri Custom Cut Gemstone Pendant 18K White Gold. Photo ©2019 EraGem Jewelry.


    Bellarri Adelman began her career selling loose stones. Eventually, her business partners asked her to fashion finished jewelry pieces. Subsequently, her passion for design ignited. Today, Bellarri is synonymous with bold designs, exquisite colors, exquisite luxury, and unique gemstone cuts.


    Unique Gemstone Cuts

    Undoubtedly the most iconic Bellarri cut, the Mystique cut features a flat table with a scalloped crown. From the center, the Mystique cut gemstone appears to burst in an eruption of color and light.

    The designer uses the Mystique cut in the majority of her collections. In particular, I draw your attention to its use in the Romantic Reflections Collection. The pendant featured in the above photo belongs to what I believe is the third iteration of this collection.

    The Mystique cut is only one of many patented cuts which belong to the brand. Another exciting cut, the cylindrical cut, includes two variations. Both variations appear in the above gemstone pendant.

    First of all, four customized cylinder cut stones, two iolite and two peridot, frame the central topaz. Second of all, two barrel cut gemstones grace the crown of the pendant.

    Held in place by white gold and diamonds, a barrel-cut peridot and a barrel-cut topaz add a truly unique element to this gorgeous pendant. The barrel cut features a fully faceted cylinder, an exacting and truly exciting cut.

    In other collections, such as Tango, Bellarri includes bullet-cut gemstones which feature serrated tops, as well as cabochons. She also routinely employs the channel setting, which gives her jewels the appearance of having been found in the rough, melded together with the metals, one organic whole.


    Bellarri Style

    Bellarri describes her ideal client as a woman who knows her own mind. Refusing to wait on a lover's timing, she purchaes jewelry for herself. She incorporates bold and colorful designs seamlessly into her lifestyle, wearing them with both casual and formal attire.

    Not surprisingly, Bellarri Adelman is a woman of definitive independence. Her designs are solo endeavors, not the result of a team effort. The teamwork comes behind the scenes, with her husband and daughter providing administrative and marketing support for the brand.

    Leaving nothing to chance, the luxury brand employs in-house laser cutters to render their patented gemstone cuts. She fashions the majority of her designs in 18k white gold, with the exception of her silver collection. Though she uses diamond accents freely, the designer prefers to work with uncommon stones, such as peridot, citrine, garnet, amethyst, and iolite.

    Never one to prioritize fitting in, she hopes to attract women who will also favor these unusual stones. Eternally pushing beyond every possible limit, Bellarri continually conceives of jewels that belong to a fantastical realm.

    To be sure, every Bellarri jewel captures the imagination, ignites a passion for beauty and luxury, and transcends the here and now.

    For a peek at this, and other Bellarri masterpieces, we invite you to visit our showroom. Call us today to make your appointment.

  • Guo Pei Jewel of Fashion

    Guo Pei One Thousand and Two Nights, 2010. Guo Pei, One Thousand and Two Nights, 2010. Silk gown embellished with gemstones, pearls, crystals, beads, and sequins. Photo courtesy of SCAD/Vancouver Art Gallery.


    Inspired by the red carpet fashion of the Oscars, I offer a deeper look at the inspiring fashion designer Guo Pei. Though the show has ended, Guo Pei recently held her first North American exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


    In the Beginning

    To begin with, Guo Pei learned to sew at an astonishing age. From age of 2, she worked alongside her mother, sewing the family's clothing for the winter. As she grew, so did her love for making clothes, especially dresses.

    Not surprisingly, in 1970s China, the go-to fashion consisted primarily of Mao suits. In defiance of such limitations, Guo Pei wore loose-fitting dresses. She recalls her father tossing her paintings and sketches in the trash. Fearing, as many fathers do, that her passion would render her poverty-stricken, he encouraged her to pursue a real job.

    Pressing on with her passion, she proved him wrong and has earned his devoted support. In 2015, she earned a place at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, a solo show! That same year, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture inducted her as a member.

    The Chambre serves as the chief governing body of Paris's haute couture industry, granting her a spot on their annual Fashion Week calendar. After making her debut on the Paris runway in 2016, TIME Magazine named her one of their 100 Most Influential People, as well as one of the Business of Fashion's 500 Most Influential People.


    The Guo Pei Philosophy

    The Chinese artist continues to walk her own path, designing dresses that incorporate the magic of Chinese mythology, the splendor of the Qing Empire, and the traditions of Chinese painters, embroiderers, and artisans.

    Guo Pei infuses every creation with an artistic passion. She aims to seamlessly blend Chinese tradition with western modernity. Guo Pei draws inspiration from fairy tales and legends, and most surprisingly, military history.

    She reveres the body as a blank canvas, waiting to tell the story of creation. Each garment begins when her imagination sparks to life. She paints in material and thread, telling a story of romance, beauty, and sometimes courage.

    China's preeminent contemporary fashion designer continues to stand apart, separating herself from competition and trends. Her art arises from within, a wellspring of creation waiting to emerge for every occasion.

    ~by Angela Magnotti Andrews

  • Laura Ramsey "Gems at Large"

    Laura Ramsey Iolite & Diamond Ring 14K Gold Laura Ramsey Iolite & Diamond Ring 14K Gold. Click here for more details. Photo ©2019 EraGem Jewelry.


    Laura Ramsey designed this contemporary cocktail ring featuring five pear mixed-cut iolite stones and 33 single-cut diamonds set pave. Designed in a spray motif, this gorgeous designer ring reminds me of a peacock's feathers. It is an excellent representation of Laura Ramsey's flair for design.


    Laura Ramsey

    Laura Ramsey is best known in partnership with her husband, the famous gem cutter John Ramsey. For over 40 years, this gemstone power couple has traveled the world in search of glorious rough gemstones.

    Focusing on the more obscure and sometimes rare stones, such as tanzanite, tsavorite, and rubellite tourmaline, John cuts the stones, and Laura incorporates them into her stunning contemporary designs.

    They met in an airport on December 6, 1975. Though she started out as a shy girl growing up in difficult circumstances, Laura eventually found her gumption and went to work as an airline stewardess.

    Once on board the plane, John caught her eye and a bond formed almost instantly. They were married the following August, and eight months later caught another flight together, this time to Kenya, Africa.


    Gem-Hunting Around the Globe

    Their trip to Kenya was the first big action step toward realizing their dream of establishing a full-scale gemstone and jewelry design business. From Africa, they brought home tanzanite, tsavorite, and the rare and beautiful scapolite.

    Soon after, John became one of the first gem cutters in the world to facet rough tanzanite. The Ramseys sold these gemstones in the rough and faceted to clients. They went on other excursions around the world, and eventually Laura Ramsey began using some of John's cut stones in her designs.


    Gems at Large

    As the years went on, John and Laura Ramsey continued to gain attention in the gemstone industry for their knowledge, skill, and integrity. Eventually, they chose to distribute Laura's designs through the home shopping industry.

    They launched their own home shopping program through ShopNBC, called "Gems at Large." Her high-end jewels sold in abundance, and their business partnership continued to fuel their success.

    Sadly, their relationship with ShopNBC ended somewhat abruptly and mysteriously. Today, John and Laura Ramsey maintain a personal website where they sell their jewels and gemstones to private clients.

    Laura Ramsey's creative talents extend beyond jewelry, as well. She also paints with watercolors, draws and sketches with pencil and colored pencils, and she takes beautiful photographs. Interested collectors can purchase her art on Pixels.

    Her integrity and renown in the jewelry and gemstone industry ensure that Laura Ramsey jewels remain a solid investment for collectors and contemporary jewelry enthusiasts. To add this beautiful LR jewel to your collection, give our sales staff a call today.

  • The Magical Realism of Cathy Waterman


    Cathy Waterman Vine and Daisy Drop Earrings Cathy Waterman Vine and Daisy Drop Earrings. Click here for more details. Photo ©2019 EraGem Jewelry.


    Cathy Waterman infuses every jewel she designs with magical realism. These gorgeous vine and daisy drop earrings capture the form of a daisy while at the same time exuding the whimsical happy essence of the summer flower. Fashioned from platinum, these earrings sparkle with round brilliant diamond flowers and leaves.


    Cathy Waterman Designs

    Cathy Waterman launched her brand in 1990, almost immediately capturing the attention of Hollywood's elite. Her gorgeous creations grace the red carpet, feature prominently in fashion magazines, and adorn tastemakers and trendsetters around the globe.

    She begins with a central stone, hand-picked for quality and beauty. With stone in hand, she opens a clean page in her sketch pad and starts to create. Before she even puts pencil to paper, a design fully takes shape within her mind.

    For her, creating jewelry is a joy, an opportunity to connect in a deep way with the materials as well as with the woman who will adorn herself with her finished piece.

    Whimsical, lyrical, feminine, ethereal, magical...these are just some of the powerful words attributed to her designs. In her Santa Monica studio, Cathy draws her inspiration from nature and from her travels. She also draws upon history, particularly church history, as well as literature.

    She considers herself a magician, applying her craft to platinum, 18k gold, diamonds, and gemstones. Taking these raw materials and transforming them into organic jewels, she imbues them with her most prized virtues - consciousness, authenticity, devotion, and true love. (source)


    Cathy Waterman at Home

    I've written about Cathy Waterman before, highlighting her Hollywood career. Today I find pleasure in sharing a more intimate look into her life. Thanks to Food & Wine, who featured Cathy Waterman's home renovations in their November 2013 issue.

    From their blog, I learned that Cathy also brings her design skills into the home. She confessed her renovation addiction, and also let on that she hosts private cooking classes in her kitchen. The designer especially enjoys these opportunities to cook,  both with her children and her class participants, as just one more reason to celebrate.

    Cathy also has an extensive and eclectic art collection, including Austrian Art Nouveau pieces, American folk art made at the turn of the century, as well as tramp art made from recycled materials.

    As a designer, she also uses recycled gold and describes Art Nouveau as her favorite design period. She remarks, “The style is lyrical and nature-based, much like my own work.” (source)

    I invite you to give our sales staff a call to see these collectible Cathy Waterman earrings in person. You will not regret adding them to your collection.


  • Dale Chihuly Ongoing Exhibition at Museum of Glass

    Dale Chihuly glass art at the exhibition of his work in 2005, in Kew Gardens, London, England.

    Dale Chihuly glass art at the exhibition of his work in 2005, in Kew Gardens, London, England. Photo in Public Domain.


    Dale Chihuly may not make wearable art, but his jewels in glass are no less interesting to jewelry lovers. If you live in or visit Washington State, you have the unique opportunity to visit the ongoing exhibition of Chihuly glass at the Tacoma Museum of Art.


    Spotlight on Dale Chihuly

    This special exhibition emphasizes the artistic innovation that Dale brings to glass. Specifically, the exhibit highlights nine intimate examples from the museum's permanent collection.

    Without doubt, the most spectacular piece on display is the Gibson Chandelier, a gorgeous study in color, texture, and shape. This stunning masterpiece hangs from floor to ceiling and features nearly every signature Chihuly shape and color.

    For more than 50 years, Dale Chihuly has experimented with glass as a medium. His passion and innovation continue to shape the Studio Glass movement. As a longtime supporter of Chihuly's work, the Tacoma Museum of Glass wished to honor the impact and contribution Dale has made in the world of glass art.

    That is what this ongoing exhibition is all about. In addition to the nine works on display, the exhibition includes a video presentation, photographs of the artist at work in the museum's Hot Shop, and a walking tour to see the Chihuly Bridge of Glass and Union Station Courthouse.


    Dale Chihuly, Master of Glass

    Dale Chihuly happened upon the art of glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. His interest in glass led him to enroll in the country's first glass program, at the University of Wisconsin.

    From there, he furthered his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1968, on a Fulbright Fellowship, Dale Chihuly began working at V.S.M. Venini & Co. in Burano, Italy. Burano lies in the heart of glass country, being very near to Murano.

    During his time in Italy, the fluidity of glass and the dramatic team approach to glassblowing completely captivated him. Three years later, after returning to the States, Chihuly co-founded the Pilchuck School of Glass in Washington State.

    His innovative work at the Pilchuck School of Glass has elevated glassblowing to the realm of fine art. Blending traditional and contemporary techniques in glassblowing, Chihuly pushes the boundaries of tradition. Abandoning the precise symmetry and functionality of factory glassworks, he creates bold designs with electric color, organic asymmetry, and captivating beauty.

    For more information about the exhibition, I invite you to visit the museum's website.

  • Focus on Designers - William Russer

    A 4th of July brooch designed by the legendary William Ruser.

    A 4th of July brooch designed by the legendary William Ruser. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry. 

    Vintage designer William Ruser created this patriotic pin, likely to commemorate Independence Day. Crafted in platinum, the pin features six rubies, five blue sapphires, and five round brilliant cut diamonds.


    William Ruser

    William Ruser, born in Philadelphia, began his career in New Jersey, at Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin Jewelers. His skill propelled him into management and eventually into the role of vice president and general manager.

    In the late 1930s, the company relocated him to their Beverly Hills office, where his reputation grew. World War II drew him overseas for a tour of duty. Upon returning home, he also returned to jewelry.


    Ruser Style

    During his career with T&HM, Ruser made a purchase of his own from a button maker. Several boxes filled with freshwater Mississippi pearls. He held onto the loose pearls for years, until eventually opening his own store.

    Ruser Jewels opened on Rodeo Drive in the late 1940s. Post-war idealism paved the way for Ruser's trademark style. Elegant swans, butterflies, and hummingbirds frolicked next to whimsical poodles, skunks, and squirrels.

    Cherubs and pixies played musical instruments and rode on clouds, while young children cast their lines for fish, played golf, and left for adventures like Huck Finn.

    Of course, all of these small treasures had one thing in common - the inclusion of baroque freshwater pearls. Those plentiful pearls, saved for most of his career, became the foundation for Ruser style.


    Hollywood Jewels

    William Ruser and his wife Pauline served the elite clientele of Beverly Hills for more than two decades. Movie stars like Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich, and Lana Turner wore his designs on film, on the red carpet, and on their own private time, as well.

    In fact, just one year after their grand opening, Ruser Jewels created several pieces for Barbara Stanwyck's character in Sorry, Wrong Number. In particular, Ruser crafted an iris brooch and a pair of diamond ribbon earrings for the film.

    Stanwyck also brought some of her own personal jewels to the set, including a diamond gardenia brooch which she wore as a pendant on a neck chain. She also owned a pair of earrings that matched the brooch.

    Though he closed his salon in 1969, Ruser survived another 25 years in retirement. Van Cleef & Arpels relocated their Beverly Hills salon to Ruser's corner shop at 300 Rodeo Drive, where they still operate to this day.

  • Auction Spotlight on Rolex Daytona Cosmograph

    Rolex 'Paul Newman' Daytona

    Rolex 'Paul Newman' Daytona Cosmograph, circa 1966. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's. 

    The watch featured above, the 'Paul Newman' Rolex Daytona Cosmograph (circa 1966), sold at Sotheby's for an astonishing price of $188,878. Not surprisingly, Rolex watches continue to perform well at auction. This past week, Sotheby's auctioned this and 77 more in their Important Watches sale. Of these 78 elite watches, 63 sold for a grand total of just over $4 million.


    The Rolex Daytona

    Launched in 1963, Rolex designed the Daytona Cosmograph as the ideal tool for endurance racing drivers. First of all, it was robust, designed in stainless steel with their Jubilee band with a folding clasp.

    Most important, it featured a tachymetric scale on the bezel which allowed a driver to calculate their average racing speed with the push of a button. With three counters, the Rolex Daytona enabled a driver to track elapsed time in hours and minutes, as well as average speed to within 1/8 of a second accuracy.


    An Elite Class

    This featured Rolex Daytona belongs to an elite class of Daytona watches. Released among the earliest batches of Daytonas, it features the rare Daytona Jumbo dial.

    The Jubilee Bracelet further enhances the vintage of this design. The newer Daytonas feature the Oyster Bracelet, made of Rolex's exclusive Oystersteel alloy.

    Time and oxygen have also weathered the subsidiary registers, rendering them a beautiful tobacco brown which contrasts nicely with the stark white background.

    Rolex debuted dial configuration reference 6240, featured in this Daytona watch, in 1966. They produced it for the Daytona watches for only three years. Subsequent batches featured reference 6263 and 6265.

    In addition to the vintage of this model, these unique features impart a rarity to what is already a collector's watch. Today, the Rolex Daytona continues to command respect, particularly at America's most prestigious speedways.


    Modern Daytona

    Today's Daytona wristwatches continue to provide important and accurate information to racecar drivers. Belonging to Rolex's class of Professional Watches, the company describes the Daytona as "A Watch Born to Race."

    Now made with 904L steel alloy, these watches can withstand all the pressures of the raceway without missing a tick. Rolex commandeered this special steel for watchmaking from the aerospace and chemical industries in 1985.

    In 2000, the engineers at Rolex designed a special chronograph, the Caliber 4130, comprised of only 290 components, which employs a vertical clutch activator. This offers absolute precision in stopping and starting when the pusher is pressed.

    Clearly, this attention to detail and precision opened the doors for a partnership between Rolex and the racing industry. Rolex is now the Official Timepiece of the Daytona Internati, as well as for Formula 1.


    Daytona Beach

    According to its designers, the Daytona Cosmograph, of course, conjures its namesake. Founded in 1870, Daytona Beach became famous for its smooth, wide beaches. These long stretches of hard-packed sands inspired motor car races in the early 1900s.

    In the 1930s, the racing industry devised road courses for stock cars. In 1959, just four years before Rolex designed a watch for race car drivers, US race car driver Bill France built the International Speedway.

    Since then, thousands of racing enthusiasts continue to flock to Daytona Beach annually for the Daytona 500.

  • History + Highlights of Boucheron

    Amazing 1950's Boucheron Turquoise & Diamond Cocktail Ring Platinum An amazing 1950s Boucheron Turquoise & Diamond cocktail ring. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    The Maison Boucheron of Paris crafted this outstanding turquoise and diamond cocktail ring in the 1950s. Centering the masterpiece is an oval cut turquoise cabochon weighing 30 carats. A halo of 20 round brilliant cut diamonds surrounds the stone. Around this, a second halo of 20 accent cabochon turquoise stones surrounds the whole. Truly, the ring serves as an extraordinary example of the design prowess of Boucheron.


    History of Boucheron

    Frederic Boucheron grew up learning the clothiers trade. Upon reaching the age of maturity, he departed from his family's tradition and opened a jewelry boutique in Paris. Opening first beneath the arcades of the Palais Royale, Frederic eventually made a strategic move to 26 Place Vendome.

    In the crosshairs of the Opera Garnier district and the Tuileries Gardens, Place Vendome was then and remains now the center of recreation and leisure for wealthy Parisians. Frederic was the first to sell high jewelry in the 1st arrondisement.

    Today Place Vendome holds court as the premier marketplace for high jewelry, couture, the arts, and antiques. Today, 160 years later, Boucheron continues to serve the most elite clientele in Paris, offering unique contemporary collections featuring spectacular stones from 26 Place Vendome.


    Three Creative Pillars

    Early on, Frederic adhered to design principles built upon three creative pillars - Couture, Architecture, Nature. These creative pillars remain solidly in place as a foundation for all of the atelier's collections.

    Nature provides endless inspiration. Drawing from nature's wild freedom, the Maison creates bold natural designs expressed in an exotic blend of realism and fantasy.

    Architecture reveals itself most prevalently in Boucheron's Art Deco motifs. From the beginning of the Art Deco period, the atelier capitalized on the contemporary demand for geometric lines and architectural motifs.

    Couture, to be sure, inspires and informs the design principles behind nearly every Boucheron piece. In part, because jewelry serves to accessorize couture. In part, because couture in and of itself is inspiring. Certainly, as the son of clothiers, Frederic cultivated a lifelong fascination with fabric and materials.

    Among his most magnificent creations is the gold mesh scarf he fashioned for the Grand-Duc Wladimir. The Duc met his wife during a ball. She dropped her scarf, and he picked it up for her. The sensuousness and infatuation marked by such a simple encounter inspired him to ask Boucheron to recreate the scarf in gold and jewels. Since then, the Maison continues to work gold to create fabric-like creations fashioned from fine strands of gold and tasseled with pearls.


    Designs for Women

    Without doubt, the most innovative design Boucheron invented for women and couture is the Question Mark necklace, called Point d'Interrogation in French. Conceptualized first in 1883, by Frederic and his workshop manager, Paul Legrand, the Question Mark necklace established a new design for women.

    The necklace, beautiful and contemporary in its lines, really solved a difficult problem women endured with their couture. In particular, the stiff, limiting crinoline made it difficult for women to hook the clasp of a necklace on their own. The Question Mark necklace, fashioned like a peacock feather, is made without a clasp. Instead, it harbors a hidden spring system which allows it to curl around the neck like a feather.

    This represents only one example in a long line of innovations tailored to meet the needs of women. In addition, the Maison invented brand new designs, including the mosaic, mirror, and airy settings.

    The innovation, boldness, and extraordinary commitment to exceptionality in stone choice, design principle, and craftsmanship, surely sets Boucheron above the rest.

    To add this beautiful piece by the Parisian Maison to your collection, give us a call today.

  • Raymond Yard Designer Spotlight

    Raymond Yard Jeweled Church & Tree Brooch Jeweled Church & Tree Brooch by Raymond Yard.

    I first learned about Raymond Yard when I wrote about the Christie's auction, The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller. That sale featured the gorgeous engagement ring that David gave to his beautiful bride Peggy in 1940, which was made by Yard.

    By that time, it came as no surprise that David Rockefeller went to the designer for this most important jewel. Indeed, David's father, John D. Rockefeller, was the person who encouraged Raymond Yard to begin his own jewelry firm. Upon following his advice, Yard quickly became the Rockefeller's most important consultant for all things jewelry.


    Raymond Yard in the Early Years

    Raymond Yard began his career at the age of 13. He started out as the doorboy for New York's Marcus & Co. He opened the doors for clients of the elite luxury jewelry store on 17th and Broadway in Manhattan for a number of years. Over the next decade, he progressively learned the various aspects of the jewelry business.

    In his final years at Marcus & Co., Yard became the company's most sought-after salesman. It was here that John D. Rockefeller found him and groomed him to become an entrepreneur. In 1922, upon the urging of his benefactor, Raymond Yard established his own jewelry firm in New York.

    The Rockefellers recommended him to their friends, and before long Yard counted as clients the Woolworths, the Du Ponts, the Vanderbilts, and more.


    Raymond Yard's Distinctive Style

    In the beginning, Yard catered to his conservative American clientele, favoring large diamonds and gemstones mounted in platinum with gemstone accents. Given its 1920s and 1930s beginnings, the firm specialized in Art Deco style, taking the style to a whole new level with their exquisite geometric renderings and gorgeous diamonds, rubies, and blue sapphires.

    Eventually, Raymond Yard developed some more whimsical designs. His most iconic are his humanlike rabbits and his jeweled houses. The jeweled house above features what looks like a jade base (or sculpted emerald) for grass and platinum for the structure of the house and tree branches. The leaves and flowers on the tree are fashioned mainly of cabochon emeralds, rubies, and blue sapphires.

    The tree also features faceted diamonds. A carved ruby bush and carved emerald bush stand beside the platinum porch and blue sapphire door of what looks like a church. The church also features ruby windows and an emerald belfry, as well as diamond siding and a diamond-studded spire.

    Raymond Yard made many of these fun "house" brooches. Perhaps the most famous of his houses was his reproduction of Cee Zee Guest's Palm Beach home, Villa Artemis.

    His more whimsical personified rabbits feature clothing made out of calibre-cut gemstones, baroque pearls, sculpted rubies, and lots and lots of diamonds.

    His most famous rabbits are his butler rabbits, dressed in elaborate finery, carrying cocktail trays and towels, ready to serve the most prestigious of guests. He also fashioned bridal rabbits, fisher-bunnies, yachts-hares, and even British Royal Guards Bunnies.


    Raymond Yard Today

    Raymond Yard retired from his company in 1958, with the Herald Tribune declaring his career "fabulous." {source} He ceded his position to his protege, Robert Gibson. Gibson retired in 1989, leaving the company in the capable hands of his son, Bob Gibson.

    Today, Raymond Yard continues to make jewelry based on the company's original designs. They continue to source the highest-quality gemstones and use time-honored jewelry-making techniques. These original designs are sold exclusively through Betteridge. Of course, collectors can always scour the web in search of auctions of Raymond Yard vintage pieces.

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