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2017 Recipient of F4D’s

Sybil Yurman, co-founder and designer at David Yurman, Inc., has been instrumental in the success of the renowned design house since its inception in 1980. Sybil’s creative discipline as a painter, coupled with her marketing acumen, has helped to create an internationally acclaimed jewelry and timepiece leader brand at the forefront of the luxury market.

In the late 50’s, Yurman (then, Sybil Kleinrock) moved to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, where she met a number of influential figures in her life as an artist, including Allen Ginsburg, Peter Orlovsky, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. These leading figures of the beatnik movement encouraged her to pursue her passion for painting. Later, she studied the art of Raku pottery with Shoji Hamada, an education that informs her hand to this day.

In 1969, Sybil and David Yurman met while working together in a sculptor’s studio – he as a sculptor and Sybil as a young painter. A mutual interest in the arts sparked a relationship that would become the foundation of the brand as it is today. David’s initial foray into creating jewelry started with one-of-a-kind gifts for his then-girlfriend, Sybil – she wore David’s sculpture as jewelry. In 1971, a necklace called “Dante” caught the eye of Bella Fishko, founder of New York’s Forum Gallery, and she asked if it was for sale. Simultaneously, Sybil said “yes” and David said “no,” but they agreed to leave it with the dealer. By the time they got home, four had sold, and so the inception of the brand as it is known today began.

In 2001, her insight and direction were key factors in the development of the company’s first lifestyle advertising campaign, shot by photographer Peter Lindbergh – iconic black and white print images featured David Yurman designs on notable faces in fashion, such as Kate Moss, Amber Valetta, Naomi Watts and Natalia Vodianova, Gisele Bundchen and Kate Upton.

David Yurman is a premier American luxury jewelry brand with a mission to share in life’s exceptional moments. Artistic inspiration, craftsmanship and unconventional yet elegant designs are at the core of the brand.  The Yurman’s natural understanding of color and art yields signature jewelry designs; diamond, pearl, and gemstone jewelry and Swiss-crafted timepieces that are renowned for capturing the essence of relaxed American luxury.

Yurman has received a wide variety of industry accolades and awards from peers and associates alike. She and David were both proud recipients of the JIC (Jewelry Information Center) Gem Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, and were presented in 2007 with the Savannah College of Art & Design’s Etoile Award in recognition of their contributions to American jewelry design. Sybil also received the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

A commitment to philanthropy and community is a priority for Sybil Yurman. In 2001, The Yurman Family Foundation was founded as a means to provide support to a variety of organizations. Through the Foundation, charitable organizations such as The Breast Cancer Research Fund, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, are supported.