Here’s a photo of Miss Duke from 1953, wearing her Schepps citrine cabochon bracelet and ring suite, made for her in December of 1940. At that time, the price was $500! The pairing with a crisp white shirt is absolute perfection.
The set was part of the Christie’s “Magnificient Jewels from the Doris Duke Collection” auction in 2004. (Click on images to enlarge.)
To see some of her other Schepps’ pieces, see our previous post.
A little piece of Schepps history–Patricia Schepps Vaill’s business card. So simple… because the Schepps name said it all.
Her obituary in the New York Times:
February 18, 1993 Patricia Schepps Vaill, a jewelry designer, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 74.
Until she became ill in 1990, Mrs. Vaill was acting as a design consultant. She was known for her work in the Art Deco style in jewelry and the use of beach glass and rock crystal.
Mrs. Vaill was the former president of Seaman Schepps, the Park Avenue jewelry design firm founded by her father… She took over after her father’s death in 1972, retiring in 1988.
In May 1986, Interview magazine published an article about her that was illustrated by Robert Mapplethorpe.
She was born in San Francisco. She attended L’Ecole Mont-Choisi in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Todhunter School in New York City, where she studied American History under Eleanor Roosevelt.
Besides her daughter, Amanda, a writer in New York City, she is survived by a sister, Virginia Jane Scott of Cold Spring Harbor, L.I., and two grandchildren.
I have to thank the BrandLand blog for this image. They had found the card in the back of an old desk that was once in the Abraham & Straus department store in Brooklyn. Of course, our store is still located at 485 Park Avenue. Our phone number is still indeed PL3-9520.
This past week, some of the Schepps vintage jewelry was taken out of our vaults for an upcoming exhibition in Hong Kong! I had the opportunity to see the famous grape brooch (made in 1937) in sapphire, emerald, and diamond that belonged to the heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke–part of an amazing sapphire suite that also includes a bracelet and earrings. The grape brooch is fantastic–one forgets the scale of it; there’s nothing diminutive or quaint about it. It measures almost 5 inches high!
To die for! My heart stopped when I came upon these renderings in our archives. Research into a Mrs. H.E. Dewing, for whom the link bracelet was designed, reveals that Mr. Dewing was a prominent member of the Stock Exchange in the 1920s. Looking at these designs–particularly the cuff bracelets–reminds me a lot of what we’re seeing in costume jewelry today, especially by designers Dana Lorenz of Fenton/Fallon and Dannijo. To think that Mr. Schepps beat them to it by about 70+ years!
Sifting through our archives of Mr. Schepps’ original renderings… There are thousands of wonderful and whimsical designs. Here you see some of our more iconic pieces, designed for Wallis Simpson (Duchess of Windsor) and Marguerite Wenner-Gren, the opera diva and wife of Swiss industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren. And a photo of Mr. Schepps in his garden in Great Neck, Long Island.