Raymond Yard: An Art Deco Legend


A piece by Raymond Yard (photo source: Christies.com)

Best known for his exquisite platinum mountings and for using only the highest quality gemstones, Raymond Yard redefined the jewelry world in ways never before seen. With his brilliant cutting style and unique Art Deco designs, Yard stood apart from all other jewelers, and today, the name Yard still represents the highest standards in fine jewelry.

In 1898, at just thirteen years old, Raymond Yard began his jewelry career. He worked as a door boy at Marcus & Co., one of the most well-known jewelry houses in the nation. At Marcus & Co., Yard quickly moved up the ladder. He absorbed as much as he could and learned the ins and outs of the jewelry business - everything from craftsmanship to sales. Yard mastered each and every aspect of the industry and eventually became the most sought after salesman at Marcus & Co. He soon gained the patronage of John D. Rockefeller Jr., who encouraged Yard to start his own brand. 

In 1922, Yard opened his first shop at 522 Fifth Avenue, New York. Thanks to Rockefeller’s strong following, Yard’s jewelry quickly gained popularity amongst the city's most affluent families Though he was a New York favorite, Yard’s popularity wasn’t limited to the east coast - the jeweler also made a strong impression with Hollywood’s elite.

A diamond, sapphire, rock crystal, and enamel brooch in Yard's signature Art Deco style (Photo source: Lang Antiques)

Though Yard's early pieces reflected the conventional styles of the late Edwardian and early Art Deco periods, the jeweler set himself apart by using superior gemstones, which he would mount into platinum. Yard's discretion and perfectionism in his work won him the loyalty of his clients, and it’s reported that customers would wait patiently for Yard to find the perfect stone to complete custom orders. The jeweler took great pride in taking custom orders and delivering excellence to his customers. 

In 1958, Yard's legacy was passed onto Robert Gibson, Yard’s protégé. The two met in 1937 at the Winged Foot Golf club, where Gibson was a 17-year-old caddy. Just as Yard had risen through the ranks of Marcus & Co, Gibson climbed the ladder of Yard’s business and became president of the company upon Yard’s retirement. In 1989, after decades of successfully maintaining the Yard legacy, Robert Gibson retired and his son, Bob Gibson, became president. Bob Gibson brought continued success to the company by reviving many of Yard’s most successful past designs, while staying true to the high quality and craftsmanship that first defined the Yard name.

(Featured image source: Betteridge)

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