If you are looking to add some vintage David Yurman jewelry to your collection, you have come to the right place. Here you will learn about the history, jewelry marks, materials used, most collectible pieces, and tips on how to buy.
David Yurman jewelry has reached fashion icon status. His mixed-metal, diamond-in-silver and innovative gemstone designs have revolutionized the jewelry industry and continue to transcend fashions and fads. They are designs “for all seasons,” from the 1970s right up to current times.
Brief History of David Yurman Jewelry
David Yurman grew up on Long Island, New York. While a teen, he learned to sculpt using welding techniques. Later, as a young man, he followed the Beatnik path of Greenwich Village to Big Sur and back, immersing himself in the artistic movements of that time. In the early 1960s, he worked for various sculptors on large-scale public works in New York City, including at the Lincoln Center and the James L. Watson Court of International Trade. When David worked for renowned sculptor, Hans Van de Bovenkamp, he met Sybil Kleinrock, a painter, who would become his wife and business partner.
In the early 1970s, David and Sybil moved to Carmel in upstate New York and opened Putnam Art Works, specializing in sculptural jewelry. In 1977, David was chosen to exhibit at the Retail Jewelers of America Show in New York City, the first time that the long-time divide between traditional artisans and established merchandisers was bridged. David and Sybil married in 1979 and opened David Yurman Enterprises with Sybil as co-creator and collaborator. Their son, Evan, was born in 1982. In 1983, David introduced his signature piece, the cable bracelet: a twisted helix adorned with gemstones on its end caps. A retail buyer placed a huge order and sold out in no time. And it has never stopped selling.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the David Yurman company was at the forefront of the emerging category of American designer jewelry. He has been recognized for his mixed-metal designs and for being a pioneer in setting diamonds in sterling silver, “Silver Ice,” that made diamond jewelry more affordable and, therefore, more casual for everyday wear.
In 2003, Evan joined the company and became Design Director of the Men's and Timepiece Collections. In 2009, he launched an exclusive collection of high-end jewelry of his own designs.
Today, Evan’s three children (Jasper, three; Lulu, seven; and Cody, nine) have demonstrated the likelihood that the David Yurman legacy will live on. Cody has a bench next to Sybil and worked on a children’s line that was carried in their stores.
There are currently 33 David Yurman boutiques in the US and 11 around the world.
Watch to see Vintage David Yurman Jewelry
David Yurman Jewelry Designers
David, Sybil and Evan are the only designers. The Yurman family has its own vision, cherishes it and protects it. David and Sybil were, respectively, sculptor and painter and, therefore, view jewelry as wearable art first rather than accessories or fashion statements. Their jewelry retains the evidence of his sense of form and her sense of color.
Evan designed the Revolution Timepiece collection and collaborated with famed automotive designer, Carroll Shelby, to produce a limited-edition Shelby watch. He also consulted with Shelby on the design of the Shelby 1000 Mustang.
- Most David Yurman pieces are embossed with trademark stamps. Trademark stamps include the David Yurman name and, in some instances, the copyright © symbol.
- Some pre-2010 pieces bear craftsman stamps that denote who made them.
- Pieces from the 1980’s and 1990’s are typically stamped “D YURMAN,” “D.YURMAN,” or simply “YURMAN.” These stamps are in all capital letters.
- More contemporary pieces from the late 1990’s and 2000’s will typically have an initial stamp of “D.Y.” or “DY.”
- In 2010, David Yurman began to use a more personalized font on most jewelry pieces. The most common current trademark stamp is the David Yurman initials of either “DY” or “D.Y.”
- Yurman's sterling silver pieces are always stamped with: 925, STER, or STERLING.
- 14K gold pieces are stamped with "14K" or "585".
- 18K gold pieces are stamped with "18K" or "750".
- Mixed metal pieces (e.g., sterling silver and 14K gold) feature two numeric metal stamps, “925, 585”
- Aluminum Renaissance bracelets, laser-etched "ALUMINUM"
- David Yurman sometimes features stampings that are out of the ordinary. Examples include a smiley face, a heart, or even a star. Yurman pieces that were manufactured before the 2010's often feature these peculiar stamps, indicating the craftsman or factory that produced them.
- Sterling silver, gold, platinum
- Bronze, copper, black rhodium
- Stainless steel, aluminum
- Mixed metals
- Carbon fiber, meteorite
- Pavé diamonds
- Diamonds set in silver, “Silver Ice”
- Amethyst, blue topaz, citrine, peridot
- Black, green or grey orchid gemstones
- Opal, coral, lapis lazuli
- Dyed Sea Bamboo
Most Collectible Vintage David Yurman Jewelry
If you are looking to add to, or start a fine jewelry collection, David Yurman is an excellent choice. Some of the most collectible David Yurman pieces include:
- Cable bracelets and necklaces - His classic signature sterling silver cable bracelets are considered a staple for women. - Browse Etsy - Browse eBay
- Renaissance Collection - Browse Etsy - Browse eBay
- Labyrinth Collection - Browse Etsy - Browse eBay
- Albion Collection - Browse Etsy - Browse eBay
Following are some examples of collectible David Yurman jewelry:
Amethyst, Peridot, Sterling Silver and Yellow Gold Ring: Renaissance Collection
The Renaissance Collection is the first that David and Sybil designed together. It is a marriage of color and form. This vintage ring features an oval peridot flanked by amethysts on each side set in sterling silver and 14k yellow gold.
Sterling Silver Diamond Disc Pendant Necklace: Labyrinth Collection
From the Labyrinth Collection, the small sterling silver disc features round brilliant-cut diamonds (1.05 TCW).
Sterling Silver Diamond Moonstone Cable Classic Cuff
One of David Yurman’s iconic cable bracelets.
Sterling Silver Faceted Amethyst and Diamond Cocktail Ring: Albion Collection
From the Albion collection, this signature ring is set in sterling silver with a purple amethyst stone framed with pave diamonds sterling.
Metro Cable heart pendant with .11 TCW round brilliant-cut diamonds set in 18K yellow gold and sterling silver.
Watch to see Real vs Fake David Yurman Jewelry
Tips for Buying Vintage David Yurman Jewelry
- Look at the price. Pieces range from $1,300 to $3,000. A necklace for less than, say, $600 is most likely a fake.
- Look at the gems. David Yurman gems have a dazzling brilliance. Beware hazy, muted stones.
- Counterfeit sterling silver Yurman pieces are sometimes made of stainless steel, which is heavier and duller than sterling silver.
- Look at the craftsmanship. Check seams and edges. Authentic pieces will not have sharp or jagged edges. Soldered areas are neat and clean. Stone settings are precise and well-formed.
- Ask for the Certificate of Authenticity, but even those certificates can be forged. Call David Yurman customer relations at 888-888-4757 and ask if they can verify the certificate.
If buying online:
- Photos should be clear. There is no excuse for fuzzy photos or to not have a photo.
- Make sure the vendor has good reviews. No reviews is a bad sign.
- Poor customer service is a bad sign or if there is no contact information.
- Make sure there is a money-back guarantee.
How to Identify Authentic David Yurman Jewelry
David Yurman Iconic Cable Bracelets
What to Look For
- David Yurman bracelets are made from a variety of metals and materials, including: sterling silver, anodized aluminum, titanium, ceramic, 14K or 18K gold, copper, rhodium-plated silver.
- Many pieces are adorned with precious and semi-precious gemstones.
- Gemstones are always genuine and high-quality.
- Gemstones are usually cut in a cabochon or checkerboard pattern.
- 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.
- Cable bracelets should have eight filaments with no spacing, and oxidation should be present in the cable design and evenly applied.
- Clasps will be either incorporated in the design motif or contain design elements themselves; they are never ordinary.
- Diamonds should be set tightly near the bezel with sphere-shaped pavé prongs.
- Bezels should hug the stones and have a high-polish finish.
- Pieces should be stamped either ‘D. Yurman,’ ‘D.Y.’ or ‘David Yurman.’ A crisp copyright symbol is usually found next to the designer signature.
- Pieces that are bonded should always have the gold purity stamp along with the sterling silver 925 stamp.
- Glass stones and unnatural, electric colors that are not in Yurman’s color palette.
- Cable designs that are not as fluid or seamless. Counterfeits are usually lighter in weight and/or the width is incorrect.
- Stone's with internal fractures.
- Poorly set stones, visible glue residue.
- Crooked gold wrapping on cable bracelets near end caps.
What to Look for
- The cables of an authentic David Yurman Albion ring twist all the way around the shank and carry through to the inside of the ring. There is only a very small section on the inside bottom of the ring that is smooth to allow for sizing.
- Genuine David Yurman Albion rings are very symmetrical. The two cabled bands are evenly sized and spaced at the top of the ring and underneath the setting.
- Authentic Albion rings feature a central gemstone that is cut with a special faceting technique, resulting in that unique convex checkerboard motif.
- The cabling of each band will twist in the opposite direction and meet in a chevron pattern at the bottom of the ring.
- Shank is smooth along the entire inside.
- Cabled shanks are slightly different widths.
- Bands are asymmetrical and not spaced evenly on either side at the base of the gemstone setting.
- It is hard for forgers to replicate the special gemstone faceting, so fake Albion rings will often have a checkerboard motif with larger squares.
- Feature cables that twist in the same direction and don't meet in a chevron pattern.
Is David Yurman Jewelry Worth Collecting?
Yes! David is one of the most famous of contemporary designers and his pieces among the most coveted. Signature pieces include the Renaissance Collection, which originated with the cable bracelet, but both early items and more recent ones bring top prices. A David Yurman collectible is an excellent investment.
The David Yurman website has pages of collectibles: www.davidyurman.com.
Where to Buy Authentic Vintage David Yurman Jewelry
The David Yurman pages on Etsy have a beautiful selection of vintage jewelry. eBay also has an extensive collection of pre-owned vintage David Yurman jewelry.
My Recommended Shops:
I recommend checking out JewelryAuthority on Etsy. The jewelry they sell has been thoroughly examined and refinished as needed by professional jewelers, graded by an in-house GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Graduate Gemologist, and inspected for quality before being carefully packaged and promptly shipped.
6 thoughts on “Vintage David Yurman Jewelry Buying Guide”
Your article is completely void of usable information that would support identification of AUTHENTIC David Yurman pieces, other than the makers mark examples. It is solely based on your opinion of the provided examples.
Write something informative and useful that would help authentication of the products.
Hi Christopher, thanks for your observations. I did state in my article some tips on buying authentic David Yurman jewelry, including:
I didn’t realize that this was the kind of information people were looking for. I agree that the article could be more informative in relation to how to authenticate vintage David Yurman jewelry. I will do more research and add more of this information to the article.
Thanks so much,
I have a chain that has DY in a circle on it and how can I tell the material it is made from.
Thanks for stopping in Gregory, there are a variety of ways to test if a material is gold or silver at home, or you can take your piece to a jewelry and have them test it for you.
Here are a couple of articles that might help:
my DY 18k cigar diamond ring has a P besides the D.Y. and 750 hallmark, does anyone know what the P stands for? does it make it fake?
Hi Wanda, it can be hard to tell, some David Yurman jewelry is stamped with a mark for the craftsman or factory that produced it, so you may have one of those. You could try contacting David Yurman (the company) directly and asking.