After a two-year absence, Seaman Schepps is back in Manhattan, with a bright department store at 69th and Madison Avenue designed to bring the 118-year-old jeweler’s heritage and history into the 21st century.
The two-level store is “four times larger” than its previous Park Avenue store, where the brand was housed for 60 years, says Anthony Hopenhajm, who acquired the brand 40 years ago.
Led by renowned interior designer Penny Drue Baird, who splits her time between Paris and New York, the goal was to transform the space at 824 Madison Ave. into a Parisian lounge where customers could relax in a comfortable and intimate setting.
To achieve this, Baird chose a soft blue/beige color scheme that allows the design accents to pop and shine throughout the store. Design highlights include an 1850s Italian Rococo mirror, a steel and crystal Baccarat chandelier, and a unique angular display case, all of which adorned the previous location.
“There is no standing bar,” says Hopenhajm. “I want people to feel like they’re walking into my living room to sit down and enjoy the conversation and each other’s company. A place to meet up with friends. »
A spiral staircase, painted in a warm faux steel and walnut finish, leads to the lower level which houses a vault of historic pieces and over 5,000 original jewelry sketches, which the brand uses to produce its latest jewelry. Many of these designs include the name of the customer the part was designed for. Clientele over the years included renowned editor and publisher Blanche Knopf, the Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and American opera diva Marguerite Wenner-Gren. Andy Warhol was an avid collector.
Hopenhajm says this is the first time he has had a dedicated space to celebrate the company’s history.
For example, it will be the first time in 15 years that pieces originally created for American heiress Doris Duke will be on display, including a grape cluster brooch with a mix of pale and highly colored sapphires, a large leaf of pavé diamonds, additional leaves with engraved emeralds and sapphires and a Duke diamond bracelet would often be associated with the brooch.
The lower level also serves as a private event space where guests can walk through this history in intimate gatherings.
This new store also has nearly 50 feet of window displays. Hopenhajm says he will use it for seasonal displays of jewelry associated with natural objects, such as wood, stone and seashells, with original watercolors by artist Diana Heimann as backdrops.
His former boutique on Park Avenue and 58th was for 60 years a gathering place for New York society and international style icons. Hopenhajm closed the store in 2020 when Hopenhajm was unable to renegotiate the lease with the property owner during the Covid pandemic. The jewelry brand has turned its full attention to its two other locations in Palm Beach, Florida, and Nantucket, Massachusetts, and its e-commerce website.
Hopenhajm acquired Seaman Schepps in 1992. All pieces are set in 18k or 22k gold and are designed and produced in Trianon, a New York jewelry workshop owned by Hopenhajm known for its high quality cufflinks.
Classic designs such as her signature seashell earrings and her colorful mix of gemstones and other materials remain in the collection and are mixed with more contemporary pieces. All models are based on original drawings.
Hopenhajm says Seaman Schepps and Trianon share an aesthetic of combining diamonds, gemstones, precious metals and unusual materials, such as wood and jade, to produce multicolored sculptural pieces that reflect classic New York style. .
“The strength of Seaman Shepps is for women to buy jewelry that looks good on them and is flattering, rather than jewelry that simply reflects family accomplishments,” Hopenhajm says. “Our jewelry is about someone putting their outfit together and how they perceive their personal style and taste.”