Answers to last week:
His clientele numbered the most illustrious of the elite. The Duchess of Windsor. Lauren Bacall. Joan Fontaine. Gloria Vanderbilt. And on and on.
He was an interesting man. He was originally a salesman, a manager, an owner of jewelry stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
Take this as inspiration ... all ye who would like to delve into the agonizingly ecstatic world of jewelry design and who feel that it might be a tad too late to start ... there are too many years under the bridge ... there are some wrinkles ... some gray hair ... some no hair ... and who knows what else. And pay heed.
Seaman Schepps began designing jewelry at 48 years old. Not only that ... but he had the unmitigated moxie to start his career in 1929 ... the year of the stock market crash. While everyone else was jumping out their windows ... he was at his bench mixing precious gems with materials of little value. He would mix good stones with terrible stones. He had vision. He cared not a whit for custom. He did what he wanted. How many in this world out there are able to make that statement? Except for those of us in the jewelry and gem trade of course. We always to what we want ... do we not?
He scavenged the world for ideas. While on a trip to Hong Kong he left the tour group he was with and wandered off with his wife to prowl the Asian flea markets. He searched the nooks. H searched the crannies. He bought coral and jade and ivory statuettes which became part of series called the Goddess of Heaven brooches. They were spectacular.
There were many that imitated Schepps ... but he handled them with ease. A story is told of David Webb--who was then an up and coming jewelry designer--who used to linger outside of Schepps's window looking for ideas. One day he stood there for so long that Schepps came outside and said, "David, would you like a chair?" Now that--my friends--is hospitality of the highest order. Hospitality ... with a gigantic pair of nerve endings.
Schepps--in a way--reminds me of Gauguin ... who one day told his wife he was going out to get some cigars and never came back ... instead going to Tahiti to become a painter. This is of course a fictionalized version of the truth ... but I liked the way Somerset Maugham told it. Moon and Sixpence anyone? Schepps was not much different. He didn't go to Tahiti ... but like Gauguin ... he did switch careers in the mid-stream of life.
How does one get born with that kind of stuff in them?
And so now here it is ... represented on our pages ... a brooch of a Goddess of Heaven created by Seaman Schepps