Byline: Georgia Lee

ATLANTA — David Yurman, a much-imitated designer in the luxury jewelry market, was the guest designer at Saks Fifth Avenue’s annual fall luncheon to benefit the American Heart Association, an event that usually spotlights a ready-to-wear designer.
“It’s taken 10 years, but jewelry design is finally coming around,” said the New York-based designer, in an interview before the show for 500 people. Yurman, who is chief executive officer of his firm, said that brand positioning is everything. “You have Kleenex, Pop Tarts — brand names that denote products. It’s the same process with building our jewelry brand.” With 90 percent of advertising done in-house, the company maintains tight control over its image.
Yurman, whose line is 17 years old, sees himself as one of the first to integrate and maintain a balance between fashion and fine jewelry.
“I’m a sculptor of classic jewelry,” he said. “I have to stay within a signature look, a consistent image, but I know I’m not in a vacuum. I still have to keep expanding and offering newness.”
While the jewelry market went minimalist in recent years, Yurman became known for bold statements — colored stones and cable design in silver and gold.
“I don’t relate to ‘waif’ jewelry, but I do like clean, classic lines,” he said.
The David Yurman brand includes 750 sku’s in three groups, ranging from $350 to $40,000.
Yurman often does exclusive pieces, such as a recent “Silver Ice” collection for Neiman Marcus. The group combines sterling, 18-karat gold and diamonds.
“No young designer could come in and sell this to stores, because they’d have a silver buyer, a diamond buyer and a sterling buyer. We can do it because the brand name makes it possible.”
The new collection sold over 25 pieces a day during the September launch week at three Neiman’s stores. In addition to Neiman’s, Saks and Bloomingdale’s, Yurman sells to around 10 specialty stores nationwide.

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