Seaman Schepps Opens Madison Avenue Boutique
It has a vault of historic pieces.
The New York City-headquartered brand has outposts on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and in Nantucket’s historic town center.
For most of the last century it has maintained one New York City boutique, with its longest-standing retail space at 485 Park Avenue closing after 61 years in 2020.
Now, its Big Apple brick-and-mortar experience is back, with a bi-level space at 824 Madison Avenue, on the corner of 69th Street and Madison Avenue.
Favored over the years by such style luminaries as Marlene Dietrich and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the brand’s Madison Avenue storefront will sell signatures like turbo shell earrings and mousetrap bracelets, plus new designs that continue to integrate unusual materials like wood, alongside gold, coral, and gemstones.
The new space will lean into the brand’s history, housing a vault of historic pieces and 5,000 original sketches often with the name of the intended client, such as the Duchess of Windsor and American publisher Blanche Knopf.
Pieces created for American heiress Doris Duke will be on display for the first time in 15 years, including a grape cluster brooch made of both pale and brightly-colored sapphires with a diamond pavé leaf and smaller engraved emerald leaves.
Visitors can also see necklaces made for American opera singer Marguerite Wenner-Gren, spouse of industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren. Crafted in the 1940s, the necklaces feature stones from the eponymous founder’s private bead collection gathered over decades, as well as pearls and gold spheres.
In celebration of the new store, the brand will host historic vault viewings for guests to see the privately-owned archival collection, including works that were the focal point of the Somerset House (U.K.) Schepps Centennial Exhibition, as well as pieces loaned to the Museum of Arts and Design.
Seaman Schepps’ current owner, Anthony Hopenhajm, acquired the brand in 1992.
He envisioned the new boutique as an homage to Parisian salons of the early 20th century, where writers and artists gathered to socialize and discuss topics of the day.
To bring his vision to life, interior designer Penny Drue Baird, who is based between Paris and New York, created French-inspired interiors.
The store’s color palette is a blue and beige combination that acts as a palette cleanser to the colorful Seaman Schepps jewelry.
A spiral staircase connecting the store’s levels is hand-painted in a faux steel and warm walnut finish. The lower level houses the historic vault and a private event space.
An Italian Rococo mirror circa the 1850s that hung in the brand’s previous Park Avenue store is a décor center piece, as is a Baccarat steel and crystal chandelier and a walnut vitrine also from the former location.
From the exterior, 50 feet of window displays allow for seasonal changes. They feature original watercolor backdrops by artist Diana Heimann and a selection of jewels among natural materials like wood, stone, and shells.
But Hopenhajm’s Parisian interior inspiration doesn’t supplant the new store’s New York identity, he explained.
“Seaman Schepps jewels are the proud product of New York. The brand is an amalgam of New York style—bold and irreverent—utilizing unexpected materials, including wood mixed with gold, baroque pearls, and diamonds—a real high-low mix—with all pieces proudly produced in our New York City workshop,” he said.
“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of Madison Avenue’s resurgence and celebrate the energy and enthusiasm of the city at our new location, where we will unveil never-before-seen drawings by Schepps along with pieces from the family’s private collection and ephemera from the original store.”
Seaman Schepps founded his namesake company in 1904. A born-and-bred New Yorker, he began his brand on the West Coast, bouncing between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In 1921, he returned to New York for good, opening the city’s first Seaman Schepps boutique.
The Madison Avenue store opened quietly in June.
He was previously editor-in-chief at Hodinkee.
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