Seaman Schepps: Master of Colour by Maia Adams


Seaman Schepps: Master of Colour

Sometimes I think I have one of the best jobs going. Especially when the opportunity presents itself to get up close and personal with beautiful jewellery and the stories and creative minds behind it.

A case in point was my invitation last week to the private view of ‘Seaman Schepps: Iconic Collections and Signature Jewels’ at the gorgeous CoutureLab boutique here in London.

I’ve long been a fan of Schepps’ work. Its bold scale and adventurous use of colour appeals to my belief that jewellery should not take itself too seriously, and speaks of an era when glamorous women knew how to work jewels to make a statement.

New Yorker Schepps rose to prominence in the 1930s when his rule-breaking jewellery set a new agenda for the medium and won him influential fans including Katherine Hepburn, Elsa Schiaparelli, the Duchess of Windsor and Coco Chanel.

As well as his now iconic oversized pieces – often set with exuberant, rainbow hued gems – Schepps took inspiration from his travels in the Far East, re-imagining collected objects such as amethyst and chalcedony snuff bottles as elaborate jewels.

An added treat last night was the opportunity to meet with Seaman Schepps’ president Anthony Hopenhajm who talked me through a number of the pieces on display. Asked why they still resonate today, Anthony explained that they “retain the sense of fun that gives them every day wearability”.

In addition, he added, “Since today’s designs draw on the Schepps archives, they retain the brand’s DNA in their focus on unusual materials – including wood and mammoth ivory – and a use of stones, not simply for their value, but for the impact they create when placed together in idiosyncratic combinations.”

Picking a favourite piece from the stunners on display last night would have been an impossible challenge, but if pressed I’d opt for an armful (or two) of bracelets, bangles and cuffs such as those shown below. Why? Because as CoutureLab’s debonair manager Kris Betlem put it so well: “They are very happy jewels”.

And that makes me very happy too.

‘Seaman Schepps: Iconic Collections and Signature Jewels’ is at CoutureLab until 15th June

Words: Maia Adams