Twenty-eight graduating seniors in Jewelry Design. Twenty-three boxes of gems. One generous and creative donor. One department that knows how to make its students shine.
What’s more is the department expects to have enough gems to go around for years to come.
The creative donor is David Yurman, a great friend of the school and employer of some of its graduates. And of course, he is a famous jewelry designer.
“It took a long time to arrange because it was like giving up his children,” says Jewelry Design Professor Michael Coan.
Students, with faculty guidance, got to select and keep semi-precious gem stones donated by Yurman for use in their own designs.
“The gems will live in the designs. They’re not simply handed out. This is the tribute to Yurman, and the generosity of his gift” says Jewelry Design Chair Wendy Yothers.
The gems are beautiful of course and were once chosen by Yurman for his own designs.
For the students, it is an extra spur to be thinking about using particularly beautiful stones in their own designs — something most would not have a chance to do while still in college. “And not only that,” says Professor Coan, “they represent the aesthetic of a fine jewelry designer.”
“Our new curriculum promotes the use of these stones,” says Professor Coan. “Prior to this donation we did not have components for setting stones in our jewelry courses. Our new curriculum from design to fabrication, promotes a donation of this nature.”
The jewelry using the stones were first shown in public exhibition at the BFA graduating show 2017 where designs from all 28 students were on display.
“It was a very personal donation and very careful records are being kept of the stones’ use,” says Yothers. “He gave the stones, [valued at over $750,000] to see how wonderful, creative students can interpret them. He knew we would be appreciative and respect his wishes.”
Photos used with permission