"National reputation for outstanding ornaments set with superior gemstones,”-Yvonne Markowitz
Since 1912, Oscar Heyman & Brothers has been designing and crafting imaginative jewelry for the most exclusive jewelry stores. Oscar Heyman's hand crafted designs are more than just your average pieces of jewelry, they are pieces of art. From the stone selection to crafting the jewelry, every step is meticulously prepared in their own workshop. Their attention to detail has been passed down in their family owned company for more than a hundred years.
For Oscar Heyman & Brothers, family has been at the center of their business since the beginning. The Heyman family, consisting of nine siblings and two parents, began their journey in Latvia. Oscar and Nathan Heyman worked as apprentices in a workshop for their uncle that supplied ornaments to the Russian court jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé. When their apprenticeships came to an end, the boys emigrated to the United States to avoid being enrolled into the Russian Army. After leaving Latvia in 1906, they settled in New York City, bringing with them their rare skills and love for lavish gemstones. Oscar worked as a small jeweler and eventually worked for Pierre Cartier, while Nathan worked for Western Electric crafting his tool making skills. In 1912, Nathan and Oscar, along with their other brother Harry, created Oscar Heyman & Brother Inc. They setup their firm in New York City's Maiden Lane. The rest of their family soon followed them to the United States to join the business.
Always striving to surpass the expectations of Fabergé and Cartier, Oscar Heyman & Brothers created a trademark of tradition in excellence. Their breathtaking craftsmanship and superb quality earned an outstanding reputation quickly gaining advancement in the industry. They earned clients such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Shreve, Crump & Low, and Black, Starr & Frost. Oscar Heyman & Brothers abandoned the spotlight giving all the credit to their clients. Discretion and anonymity used by Oscar Heyman & Brothers has left those outside of jewelry industry clueless to their identity until recently. By remaining uncredited, Oscar Heyman & Brothers acquired the nickname "The Jewelers' Jeweler®". Today the business' legacy is lead by second and third generation Heymans, brothers Tom and Lewis (who are grandsons of Harry) and their cousin Adam (who is son of George).
The characteristic that sets Oscar Heyman & Brothers above the rest is undoubtedly their craftsmanship. Oscar Heyman & Brothers has been referred to as "Simply the finest." Their mastery in the art of fine jewelry can be seen in their hands on approach from beginning to end. The family takes pride in their work and has constructed a self-contained operation for creating sophisticated pieces of art, even generating their own tools. Oscar Heyman & Brothers has their own workshop where each piece of jewelry is constructed by American craftsmen using the same techniques passed down within the company. Their workshop of artisans includes jewelers, setters, engravers, stone cutters, and polishers. Not only do they have a workshop, but they have their own tool-and-die shop. This allows Oscar Heyman & Brothers to alloy their own metals, and cut and polish their gemstones. This system provides Oscar Heyman & Brothers with complete oversight from the start of an idea, to their customers hand.
Oscar Heyman begins every piece of jewelry with a fastidious stone selection process. All gems used, which are normally freshly mined, are selected by hand. This contributes to Oscar Heyman's reputation for unquestionable excellence. They use the finest quality of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Oscar Heyman also "buys semiprecious stones, only if they are truly extraordinary," such as alexandrite, chrysoberyl (cats eye), opal, aquamarine, star rubies, and star sapphires. Onsite stone cutters cut and polish the stones with the utmost care and precision, using techniques passed down from three generations.
Incomparable designs, another characteristic the company is known for, are inspired by nature, their clients, and most importantly the stones themselves. Heyman states, "each stone has a story to tell- the stones lead and the design follows." Their designs are dreamt, conceptualized, sketched, laid out in flat wax model, and hand crafted all by Oscar Heyman's team of jewelry producers. The company is continually striving to create captivating designs. Tom Heyman has stated "we are constantly assessing our new designs, asking 'Is this exciting? Creative? Our newest pieces always need to make a strong statement." This way of thinking has secured seven patents over the years, including three for linked bracelet components.
While Oscar Heyman & Brothers has always been visionaries for the industry, they continue to stay true to their roots. Their jewelry offices contain of over 55,000 renderings, dating back to the firm's origin. Their design team sometimes revisits these design sketches to reintroduce emblematic pieces of the past, that are then tailored to current trends. The artistic rendering themselves are ingenious and enchanting, capturing a screenshot of history. Every piece of jewelry that has ever been hand crafted by Oscar Heyman & Brothers has been categorized, numbered, and filed in the Oscar Heyman Archives. If the jewelry is ever lost, it can be re-created, allowing lost stories to be retold.
Oscar Heyman & Brothers has recently been published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in a book titled Oscar Heyman: The Jewelers' Jeweler. The publication's authors are Yvonne J. Markowitz, Rita J. Kaplan, Susan B. Kaplan, and Elizabeth Hamilton. The book documents the company's rich history and role in the American jewelry industry for over a hundred years. In this publication, the company demonstrates their growth and success through the ability to adapt to their customer's needs and the fashion world. Oscar Heyman & Brothers has become one of the few American corporations in their industry surviving the test of time.
Why We Love Oscar Heyman
Oscar Heyman & Brothers has created a timeless aesthetic centered around fine jewelry as an art with their precision craftsmanship, impeccable stones, transcendent designs, and unrivaled customer service. The harmonious relationship between Oscar Heyman, their retailers, and the end customer is unparalleled in today's industry. They have embodied change, while still keeping their heritage of elegance intact, creating an experience unlike any other. Oscar Heyman pieces' distinctions not only includes the timeless aesthetic, and harmonious relationship, but also an ability to remain timeless, whether it is a piece dating back to the 1920's or an updated version stemming from the same design. The Americana collection of jewelry created by Oscar Heyman dates back to April 6,1917. Black, Starr, & Forest asked the company to create a American flag brooch to be auctioned off to raise money for WWI servicemen. To this day, Oscar Heyman continues to supply The Stars & Stripes Collection. The one-of-a-kind pieces produce heirlooms that will be passed down from generation-to-generation. A phrase that Oscar Heyman used in his company compares his jewelry to art. That jewelry should never be considered for redesign, but should surpass time like a classic painting, never losing its enchantment. Oscar Heyman continues to conquer time by crafting beautiful jewelry showcasing exquisite gemstones, and creating works of art that are simply breathtaking.
Breitner, S. (n.d.). Romancing the stones. Antiques and Fine Arts. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from http://www.oscarheyman.com//wp-content/uploads/antiques-fineart.pdf
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (2017, January 25). Oscar Heyman Press Release [Press release]. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from http://www.oscarheyman.com/wp-content/uploads/OscarHeymanPressRelease1-25-17.pdf
Oscar Heyman: A history of daring design. (2007). Wynn Magazine Summer , 140-141. doi:http://www.oscarheyman.com//wp-content/uploads/wynn-2007.pdf
Schupak, H. T. (2012, July). The Jewelers' Jeweler turns 100. Family Business, 72. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from http://www.oscarheyman.com//wp-content/uploads/family-business-2012.jpg
What's in a name: Oscar Heyman. (n.d.). Circa October 2010. Retrieved May 4, 2017, from http://www.oscarheyman.com//wp-content/uploads/circa.pdf