Clues from the Past

Seaman Schepps original rendering for a bracelet in Andy Warhol's collectionA Seaman Schepps bracelet found in Andy Warhol's secret stash of jewels

A few months ago, we posted about the Seaman Schepps bracelets discovered in Andy Warhol’s secret stash of jewels and watches. Look what was found in our archive of original renderings! It looks like this bracelet of diamond studded engraved stars and ruby accented hinges was originally designed for Mrs. Ernest Horvath. I wish I knew the story of how it ended up in Andy Warhol’s collection. Regardless, how fantastic is it to be able trace the design back to its origin? Pretty darn fantastic, I’d say.

Andy Warhol’s Secret

“The recent discovery of jewelry in a storage room in Andy Warhol’s townhouse came as an enormous surprise to everyone. After all, prior to the auction last spring of The Andy Warhol Collection, the principal rooms of the house had been completely emptied. Everything had been thoroughly and exhaustively searched. We were certain that nothing had been overlooked. But Andy outwitted us.

Andy Warhol at the Factory by Horst P. Horst, 1972

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Mrs. Harvey Cushing

Babe Paley by Richard Avedon

The woman above is of course the eminently recognizable Babe Paley, as photographed by Richard Avedon. What does she have to do with Mrs. Harvey Cushing and the bracelet pictured below?

Sifting through the Seaman Schepps archive of 5,000+ renderings is like taking a journey through time. As was the custom, many of the renderings bear the names of the clients for whom the pieces were specially designed. Many of the names I recognize as prominent New Yorkers of the time–such as Mrs. Alfred Knopf, Mrs. John Astor, Mrs. Carole Brandt. My inner sleuth kicks in: Who were these women, and why were they drawn to Schepps?

Seaman Schepps Bracelet Rendering for Mrs. H Cushing

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Meta

John Rawling's photograph for Vogue

It’s a month before production begins on our next catalog, and I’m obsessively sifting through John Rawlings’ photography for Vogue through the 40s and 50s. In the age of provocative-bordering-on-obsene fashion photography à la Terry Richardson et al, Rawlings’ eye for composition and form–together with the refined 40s styling–is suddenly refreshing… and surprisingly sexy. Here’s a shot by John Rawlings for Vogue, circa 1941.  The models are peering into the March 1941 of Vogue, which just so happens to feature Schepps jewelry on the cover!

Model wearing Seaman Schepps jewelry for Vogue, 1941, by John Rawlings

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor wearing Seaman Schepps on the cover of Modern Screen

The legendary jewels of Elizabeth Taylor are practically as famous as Liz herself! The recent auction of her jewelry at Christie’s garnered much attention, and sold for many times the estimated value. Of course, Seaman Schepps did not escape the woman who adored jewelry like no other. Here she is at the height of her fame wearing Schepps on the cover of Modern Screen magazine from 1952.