David Yurman Donates Private Gemstone Collection to FIT
By Jonathan Vatner
Inside an unremarkable storage room in the Marvin Feldman Center, 16 translucent plastic boxes house an astounding 10,000 gems: opalescent rose quartz cabochons fused with mother of pearl, strings of turquoise beads shot through with archipelagic ironstone matrix, and tiny citrine briolettes that glitter like golden tears. Each box reveals more wonders: quench-crackled rock crystal, creamy blue lace agate, brooding smoky quartz, and shimmering navy goldstone beads.
This trove, valued at almost half a million dollars, was owned by jeweler David Yurman, co-founder with his wife, Sybil, of the world-renowned David Yurman brand. The stones, which Yurman hand-selected during his travels throughout his career, reflect his penchant for big statement pieces rich with facets. But he never found a use for them in his designs and donated them to FIT in 2016. “A lot of these are from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s,” says Michael Coan, assistant professor of Jewelry Design, and one of three gemologists in the department. “They never made it to the store. But that doesn’t make them any less beautiful.” Egyptians. Accessories Council. “Giving us these stones was a big investment in our students,” Coan says.