All That Jazz

Seaman Schepps legendary Jazz Cuff in Emerald, sapphire and diamond

One of the designs that made Seaman Schepps legendary for his imagination is wit is the Jazz cuff bracelet! Can you believe believe it was originally designed/created in the 1930s? It’s absolutely of-the-moment nearly 75 years later.

Schepps designed a series of oversized “barbaric”-style bracelets. Here’s an original Seaman Schepps Cuff, c. 1944:

Seaman Schepps Jazz Cuff, c. 1944

Seaman Schepps Jazz Cuffs, modern and vintage

Seaman Schepps Jazz Cuffs, modern and vintage, are picture above. Clockwise from bottom left: A modern Jazz Cuff in sapphire and diamond; Cabochon and faceted emeralds with diamonds in yellow nad white gold, c. 1935; Cabochon and engraved emeralds, sapphires, and rubies with garnets and diamonds in white and yellow gold, which originally belonged to Mrs. Axel Wnner-Grem. c. 1940, now in a private collection.

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Doris Duke’s Shangri La

If there were a woman who was truly worth the title “heiress”, Doris Duke would have all the competition beat. In fact, she defined it. To go along with the headlines and the coterie of men, she had an enviable collection of jewels which included quite a few important Seaman Schepps  designs that were exhibited as part of the Schepps retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York in 2004. Her true legacy was in the $1.3 billion fortune that was largely left upon her death to charitable foundations dedicated to medical research, prevention of cruelty to children and animals, the performing arts, wildlife and ecology.

While flipping through the September 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I was particularly pleased to see that Doris Duke is in the spotlight once again.  How fitting that the Museum of Arts & Design in New York is mounting an exhibition celebrating her dedication to Islamic art and architecture through a showcase of the haven she had built for herself in the 1930s in Honolulu, Hawaii–Shangri La. The exhibition runs from September 7, 2012 – February 17, 2013. I can’t wait to see it and find out more about this fascinating heiress of all heiresses!
Doris Duke in Harper's Bazaar, September 2012

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Alexander McQueen Resort 2013

gen·ius  n.
pl. gen·ius·es
1. Extraordinary intellectual and creative power.
2. A person of extraordinary intellect and talent.

Seaman Schepps vintage 3-Link Bracelet and John Rawlings photograph

Not too long ago, in a little restaurant off the beaten path in Paris, I found myself in a heated debate with a renowned (but contentious) French violinst over the definition of “genius”. He challenged me to name a person who can truly be called a genius. In his mind, only the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach could qualify. I was left a bit speechless. While we throw the word “genius” around quite a bit, who really truly deserves that label? Who can live up to Bach?

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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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If Jewels Could Talk

Duchess of Windsor's Seaman Schepps pearl and diamond earrings

William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage.”  I can’t think of a more fitting quote for Seaman Schepps jewelry. From Hollywood screen sirens to American First Ladies to jet-setting heiresses, Schepps jewels have certainly been on an illustrious adventure or two, in the heady midst of history in the making. Can you imagine the things these jewels have seen, the situations they’ve been in, and the conversations that they have been privy to?

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Lily Safra

The jewelry world is all abuzz with the upcoming sale at Christie’s on May 14: “Jewels for Hope: The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra”, which includes the largest single owner selection of jewels by JAR ever seen at auction. The Lily Safra Foundation will donate the entire proceeds of the sale to 20 charitable institutions. Furthermore, any proceeds above $20 million will be given to additional philanthropic organisations selected by the Foundation. Amongst this fantastic collection are two pieces by Seaman Schepps, shown below…

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