Christie's is selling all lots in this sale as agent for an organization which holds a State of New York Exempt Organization certificate. Seller explicitly reserves all trademark and trade name rights and rights of privacy and publicity in the name and image of Doris Duke. No buyer of any property in this sale will acquire any right to use the Doris Duke name or image. Seller further explicitly reserves all copyright rights in designs or other copyrightable works included in the property offered for sale. No buyer of any property in the sale will acquire the rights to reproduce, distribute copies of, or prepare derivative works of such designs or copyrightable works.
Seaman Schepps: A Different Perspective
Innovation, color and texture best describe the unusual and stylish jewels of Seaman Schepps. Born in New York City in 1881, Seaman Schepps did not begin designing jewelry until he was nearly 48 years old. His second career came after years of dealing in antiques from Los Angeles to San Francisco. He opened his first store in 1904, but by 1921 Schepps returned to New York. The salon he opened nearly ten years later on Sixth Avenue closed abruptly after the stock market crash of 1929.
Schepps reevaluated his business strategy and began to design highly unique pieces with an individual look. Schepps combined cabochon stones with faceted ones, mixed precious rare gemstones with lesser quality ones. The unusual combination was fresh and daring. By 1934, Schepps opened a showroom at 399 Madison Avenue and was attracting such fashion pioneers such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.
On a tour to the Far East including Hong Kong, Schepps and his wife scoured flea markets and purchased branch coral, jade snuff bottles, ivory and exotic wood figures. Invigorated by the objects, Schepps created collage-like jewels. In one bracelet, he boldly sawed a snuff bottle in half and used the pieces as links. Schepps utilized seashells in his jewelry early on. One client asked him to refashion a necklace of turbo shells from the Indian Ocean. Schepps complied and created the now famous ear clips with cabochon turquoise and coral accents and gold wire trim. Using shells and enhancing them with jewels was a technique that was borrowed from Schepps over and over again.
Seaman Schepps and Doris Duke both had a love for bold design and Oriental decoration. Carved emeralds and more traditional diamond work accent the attractive bunch of grapes brooch, lot 29, created from a mix of watery sapphires, ranging in color to create a mosaic. Lot 30 designed as a five-strand cabochon sapphire bracelet, terminates in a clasp that is a miniature work of art. Depicting carved gem birds in a golden tree, the Oriental inspiration is apparent in this piece. The set of citrine jewelry, lot 52, uses enormous gemstones in a simple and elegant way. The jewels of Seaman Schepps, worn by the most fashionable women, showcase the jeweler's art.