fbpx

SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND BRACELET BY SEAMAN SCHEPPS, NEW YORK, CIRCA 1950

A bracelet composed of five segments of flower design set with cabochon sapphires with diamond accents; mounted in platinum

  • 44 cabochon sapphires
  • 196 round diamonds
  • Signed Seaman Schepps
  • Measurements: 7 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches

Additional cataloguing

Biography

An American jeweler famous for bold retro style pieces with colorful assemblages of stones, Seaman Schepps was a self-made entrepreneur and a self-taught jeweler. Born in New York in 1881, he owned antique stores in California and New York before opening a Madison Avenue store in 1934 where he became popular for his unique and colorful assemblages. Known as “America’s Court Jeweler,” his clients included Rockefellers, DuPonts, Mellons, and the Duchess of Windsor.

 

Significance

Seaman Schepps was inspired by the bright, colorful designs of Verdura at Chanel, Boivin, Belperron, and Cartier. He traveled to Paris, where he saw the great jewelers, but then he went on to explore the world becoming particularly enamored with Hong Kong and the unusual corals, carved snuff bottles, and ivory chess pieces that could be turned into remarkable jewelry pieces. In his Madison Avenue showroom, he catered to the newly independent and newly affluent (typically American) woman. His creations were bright and oversized, taking the bold designs of the French jewelers he admired and supersizing it for the New York market.

Composed of cabochon sapphires in varying hues on platinum cushions accented with diamonds, this flower-form bracelet creates a statement when worn on the wrist. A Schepps cabochon and sapphire bracelet appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine in December of 1935, prominently featured on a pair of hands typing a bow, and again in April 1941, this time on a hand turning a magazine page. Schepps’s designs were powerful enough to carry the cover of the top fashion magazine, alone, not as an accessory to a clothing ensemble.

This wonderfully oversized bracelet appears to be an almost random composition at first glance, evincing the assemblage feel of a Schepps piece. At closer look, however, the flower forms emerge and the designer has cleverly arranged the centers so the flowers are tilted in different directions, to keep the piece off-kilter avoiding strict symmetry and maintaining a playful quality. This remarkable bracelet is just as wonderful and wearable as when it was first created.

The Vogue cover from December 1935 featuring a Schepps cabochon sapphire and diamond bracelet.

The Vogue cover from April 1941 featuring a Schepps cabochon sapphire, emerald, and diamond bracelet.