The Snuff Bottle Bracelet is Schepps at the height of whimsy and imagination. Originally made from snuff bottles hand-carved from sem-precious stone (see an original at the top of the image), our newest version is a stunning combination of blue chalcedony, faceted iolite, rock crystal, with diamond and sapphire accents mounted in 18k white gold.
The newspaper article is from the Washington Post in 1968. Society columnist Maxine Cheshire dubbed Schepps “America’s Court Jeweler” in this very article! She also notes, “David Webb, Pierre Schlumberger and even costume jeweler Kenneth J. Lane credit Schepps with being the daddy of them all.”
S.S. vacationed with his family in La Baule (Brittany) from 1927-1928. I imagined his sketch/inspiration book during this time for the Schepps catalogue… The photos at left are of S.S., his wife Nell, and daughters Patricia and Diane at La Baule. The renderings of the jewelry are for designs he made for the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson (a gift commissioned by the Duke) and for the First Lady Roosevelt. I had so much fun raiding our archives during the making of this catalogue! The little coral figure was in a box with all of S.S’s personal effects. Rather than put together the collages digitally and using the oh-so-horrible fake “drop shadow” effect, I really wanted all the objects to come off the page. Hence, each page was assembled from real objects and shot as separate plates, then stitched together into a spread using Photoshop! More to come…
May I present to you…the cover of the Seaman Schepps Spring/Summer 2011 catalogue, featuring our iconic Mousetrap Bracelet in 22k gold, diamond and emerald. The photo tucked under the watercolor rendering is the illustrious Blanche Knopf (Mrs. Alfred P. Knopf) wearing 3 Mousetraps on one fabulous wrist while on a yacht. Legend has it that when she found out that another woman had also acquired a Schepps Mousetrap bracelet, she increased her collection to three. A woman after my own heart!
I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too early but I just can’t help myself…. For the Seaman Schepps Spring/Summer 2011 catalog, we wanted to draw upon the heritage and the history of Schepps by playing with the concept of an imaginary sketch or inspiration book that belonged to Mr. Schepps… to tell a story about the jewelry and what might have inspired Mr. Schepps to create such fabulous pieces. Sneak Preview: here’s a shot of me setting up one of the pages with our classic mixed wood Link Bracelet…. That’s the dapper Seaman Schepps in the photo. The manila envelope is an authentic vintage artifact from 1941. Nellie Schepps was of course Mrs. Seaman Schepps!
The first time I realized the lovely Amanda Brooks, now the newly minted Fashion Director at Barney’s New York, was a fan of Seaman Schepps was when I read an interview with her in the newspaper in 2010, where she claimed,
My most treasured piece of jewelry is a wood and gold link bracelet from Seaman Schepps. It was a present from my husband when our son was born. My grandmother was a collector of Seaman Schepps jewelry, and then my mother became a fan and was given pieces on special occasions by my stepfather.
She had just published a new book called I Heart Your Style, in which she dishes on the finer points of style and fashion. I ran out to the nearest Barnes & Noble and bought the book. To my pleasant surprise, she mentions Seaman Schepps several times, even to say that our coffee table book was one of her favorite fashion inspiration books! (See below…)
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!
Even with a few photo shoots under my belt, it never fails to amaze me how the best shots sometimes come from unexpected moments. For the Fall 2010 catalogue, I knew I wanted to feature one of our classic designs–the Multi-colored semiprecious stone link bracelets, and I wanted to put a cool, fresh spin on it. So I styled it with an easy Halston knit dress and cream cashmere sweater…
Whilst the shots were quite pretty, something just wasn’t quite working for me. They were almost a little bit boring! I looked at the rack full of clothes I had pulled for the shoot, and didn’t see anything that clicked… until I saw my own distressed black leather motorcycle jacket (from designer Current/Elliot) hanging off a chair. Those of you who know me will know my mantra, “When in doubt, add leather!” The minute I got that jacket on Kristyna (our lovely model), I knew it was right. The shots after that just had a totally different energy! Even though I kept thinking, “They are never going to let me use this shot,” it did end up being everyone’s favorite image from the entire shoot and featured prominently in our ad campaign for 2010/2011!
And now… the finished shot with all the WORKS…
Photography: James Holland; Makeup: Mark Weiss; Model: Kristyna Doukoupilova
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.