Using only the highest quality gemstones and the most exquisite platinum mountings, Raymond Yard designed jewelry that not only took on an identifiable style of its own, but also elevated Art Deco jewelry to a new level. Raymond C. Yard differentiated itself from other jewelers in the art of rebuilding jewelry with its exquisite 20's and 30's art deco pieces. Today, the name Yard is synonymous for the highest standards in fine jewelry.
Raymond C. Yard began his jewelry career at the age of thirteen in 1898, opening doors at one of the premiere jewelry houses in the nation, Marcus & Co. The young Yard quickly began rising through the ranks, learning various aspects of the industry, from production to sales. Some 20 years after he first began opening doors at Marcus & Co. Yard was the most sought after salesman on the floor. He soon gained the patronage of John D. Rockefeller Jr., who encouraged Yard to set out on his own. In 1922 Yard opened his shop at 522 Fifth Avenue with a strong following thanks to Rockefeller’s promotion of Yard to the wealthy elite of New York. Yard’s first solo commission was the Rockefeller wedding, setting the course for his continued success.
New York’s wealthiest families were devoted Yard clients, including members of the Woolworth, Flagler, DuPont, Harriman, and Vanderbilt families, as well as the movie stars Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks. Yard’s discretion and perfectionism won him the dedication and patience of his client’s who were willing to wait for Yard to find the perfect stone to complete a custom jewel.
His formal, traditional designs depended upon the best stones in perfectly balanced combinations of cuts and sizes. Known for mixing gems with different styles of cutting, Yard began to design jewelry using round brilliants with straight baguettes. Once established, he expanded that with shields, trapezoids, etc., to give his pieces not only a special appearance, but creating shimmer. Along with creating new original pieces, Yard was also known for reincorporating old pieces of jewelry into re-designed pieces. A stunning bracelet was made for Joan Crawford using previous jewelry gifts including a Yard bracelet and earrings set and an engagement ring from husband Douglas Fairbanks.
The legacy of Yard was passed on to Robert Gibson in 1958, Yard’s protégé. The two meet 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. learning all aspects of the industry, so too did Gibson, who became President of the company upon Yard’s retirement. Gibson retired in 1989 after a successful career of continuing the Yard legacy. Bob Gibson, son of Robert, became President and brought success to the company by reviving many of Yard’s most successful designs of the past and maintaining the high quality of gemstones and craftsmanship that have defined the Yard name.