These exquisitely rendered sketches depict the designs of American jeweler Seymour Moss (1919-2011), who began his career under the tutelage of his father, owner of the American Charm Company. After serving in the Army in WWII, Moss returned to New York City and founded MOBA, which produced gold and gemstone “high-fashion” jewelry that retailed in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neimen Marcus and Van Cleef and Arpels.
Moss spent a great deal of time in Italy, working with enamel artisans and is widely credited with introducing Italian enameling techniques into the American jewelry market. Italian enamel was also introduced into his breathtakingly expensive objet d’art that incorporated fine jewelry techniques and garnered quite a following in the Middle East—members of the royal families of Brunei and the United Arab Emirates counted among his clients.
Moss was a renowned perfectionist when it came to his jewelry. While he did not render the sketches seen here, he did oversee almost every other detail of manufacturing and production, from selecting the stones to casting and setting. Among jewelry aficionados, the name MOBA is synonymous with the highest standards of quality. While Moss officially retired from the business in the 1990s, his passion for creating jewelry never waned; his son, Jeffery, tenderly tells the story that upon his father’s death at the age of 92 there remained on his jeweler’s workbench, a nearly completed necklace he was creating for his wife to wear to an upcoming event.
The Seymour Moss collection is comprised not only of sketches such as the ones seen here, but also photographs of finished works, advertising tear sheets and business records dating from between 1946-1988.