David Yurman Bracelets: How To Tell Real From Faux
David Yurman jewelry is known for its iconic cable twists, so it’s fitting that it was a series of twists that led David Yurman to found his luxury jewelry empire in the first place. David Yurman started out not as a jeweler, but as an artist. Wielding a torch to create sculptures out of metal rods, he eventually found himself in an artist’s studio in New York. It was there that he met a woman named Sybil, and it was for her that he turned his welding torch to jewelry.
Little did Yurman know that Sybil would become not only his muse, but also his wife, and his co-founder. In 1980 they together established the David Yurman brand. Soon after, in 1983, David Yurman’s signature piece was born: the cable bracelet. It is the symbol and the throughline of the brand, telling the story of its inventor’s beginnings and innovations.
Now, David Yurman is a celebrated global jewelry brand. Who wears David Yurman jewelry? Celebrities from Angelina Jolie, Rihanna and Regina King to models like Chanel Iman, to name a few. Ad campaigns, often in striking black and white and featuring supermodel regulars including Kate Moss, Joan Smalls, Gisele Bundchen and Amber Valletta, have further cemented the line’s iconic status. And in 2017 Rizzoli published an homage to the designer in the form of the David Yurman Cable book. Unfortunately though, with a high profile comes the high likelihood of counterfeiters trying to pass off faux pieces as the genuine, artful article.
In a world where fakes abound, how can you tell if your David Yurman is real? To put a finer point on what’s so special about David Yurman jewelry, and how to spot the real deal, we turned to TRR Fine Jewelry & Watches Valuation Manager Ashley Chan. Not only does she, like Yurman, share twin areas of expertise in art and fine jewelry (she has a BA in Art History and a Graduate Gemologist degree), she’s met the man himself. “I will never forget the first time I met David Yurman,” she muses. “It was in 2011 at the New York JA Show. I was ‘starstruck’ when I met one of the greats of the jewelry industry! I was introduced by my mentor who was one of his first ‘road warriors’ or female traveling sales representatives. David was so humble and down to earth. We spoke about my career in the industry (he was very encouraging) and my ethnic heritage, which led him to share stories about his beautiful family. I was also present to see Carol Pennelli, President of David Yurman, accept a WJA (Women’s Jewelry Association) Visionary Award at the WJA Awards for Excellence 2019 in New York City. Carol worked for David and his wife Sybil for 17 years; clearly husband and wife are both advocates for women advancing in the jewelry industry and were proudly in the audience that night.” Read on as Ashley gives us an insider look at authenticating the ultimate David Yurman classic: the bracelet.
David Yurman Bracelet Materials
David Yurman bracelets are made from a variety of metals and materials, including sterling silver, 14K or 18K gold, anodized aluminum, titanium, ceramic, copper and rhodium-plated silver. Many of his creations, notably Cable Classic bracelets, are adorned with precious and semi-precious gemstones. “I use my Triplet Hawk 10x loupe to delve into all the details of the piece,” says Chan. “I also use an Ultraviolet Box to check the fluorescence of the diamonds and gemstones. And of course I use my Refractometer to take the RI (refractive index) of the gemstones (how light passes through the gemstones) to determine if they are genuine or glass.”
“Gemstones should be genuine gemstones and are usually cut in a cabochon or checkerboard pattern. Counterfeits often use glass stones and unnatural, electric colors that are not in Yurman’s color palette. Diamonds will almost always be full-cut round brilliant diamonds ranging from G-I in color and VS to SI1 in clarity for silver pieces. For all gold pieces, diamonds should be VS clarity and higher.”
David Yurman Bracelet Craftsmanship
“Yurman was a sculptor first and foremost, and the cable design was inspired by a welding technique he learned from his mentor,” notes Chan. It follows that impeccable craftsmanship is key to David Yurman bracelet designs. “Cable bracelets should have eight filaments with no spacing, and oxidation should be present in the cable design and evenly applied,” she says. “Clasps are either incorporated in the design motif or contain design elements themselves; they are never ordinary. Any diamonds should be set tightly near the bezel with sphere-shaped pavé prongs, and bezels should hug the stones and have a high-polish finish. Overall, you should see attention to detail throughout a David Yurman bracelet — even on hidden surfaces. Everything should be well finished.”
Counterfeits often get this finesse wrong. Be on the lookout for cable designs that are not as fluid or seamless. “Counterfeits are usually lighter in weight and/or the width is incorrect. I use a Digital Caliper to measure the width of the cable bracelets because there are so many different sizes. Stones on inauthentic pieces may have internal fractures, are usually set poorly and can have visible glue residue. Yurman would never let that pass in quality control! Crooked gold wrapping on cable bracelets near end caps can also be a red flag.”
David Yurman Bracelet Brand Signatures
“The David Yurman signature has changed and evolved over time, just like the designer’s collections,” notes Chan. “Pieces should be stamped either ‘D. Yurman,’ ‘D.Y.’ or ‘David Yurman.’ A crisp copyright symbol is usually found next to the designer signature. In addition, pieces that are bonded should always have the gold purity stamp along with the sterling silver 925 stamp.”
“The machine that helped David and Sybil twist the cables is now housed in the National Jewelry Museum in Providence, Rhode Island,” notes Chan. “My favorite David Yurman quote, from the David Yurman Cable book by Rizzoli, is ‘There is a life rhythm with cable. Like DNA, it brings form to life.’ After reading the book I learned that the cable bracelet stands for strength and flexibility, inherent in many of the designs Yurman incorporates. David Yurman has taken a simple concept, the cable bracelet, expanded upon it and still has one of the most recognized, versatile and iconic pieces of jewelry produced today.”
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