Raymond Yard (right) and his successor Robert Gibson (left) 1944
The story of Raymond C. Yard and the firm that bears his name is a classic example of the American Dream. Though of the humblest origins, Raymond Yard had within him the greatness to rise to the top of an industry which catered to high society.
In 1898, at the age of thirteen, Raymond Yard began his career in the jewelry trade as a doorboy at Marcus & Co. in New York, one of the premier jewelry houses in the United States. It was during this period that the newly affluent American industrial families began to patronize American jewelry firms. At thirteen young Raymond could not have realized that the customers for whom he opened doors would someday be his clients.
At Marcus & Co., Raymond progressed “though the ranks,” learning several aspects of jewelry production and salesmanship. By his early 30s, Raymond Yard was one of Marcus’ most sought-after salesmen. His big break came in 1922 when John D. Rockefeller, Jr., an established Marcus client, encouraged him to open his own firm. Mr. Rockefeller recommended Yard to his family and friends, inspiring the Yard firm to create some of the most magnificent jewels in the country. Member of the Woolworth, Flagler, du Pont, Harriman, and Vanderbilt families, as well as such movie stars as Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, were among the firm’s most frequent customers.
Using only the highest quality gemstones and the 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. Today the name Yard is synonymous for the highest standards of fine jewelry.
When Raymond Yard retired in 1958, The Herald Tribune noted that “his career could factually be described as fabulous.” Subsequently the firm was taken over by his protégé Robert Gibson, whom Yard first meet in the 1937 when Robert was a 17 year-old golf caddy at the famous Winged Foot Golf Club. Paralleling the Horatio Alger career of Raymond Yard, young Gibson caddied for Yard and 21 years later became the president of his firm. Gibson successfully continued the tradition of creating the highest quality jewelry, earning the respect of his clientele, many of whom were second and third generation customers.
After a 52-year career, Robert Gibson retired in 1989 and the Yard firm passed to his son Bob Gibson. Under Bob’s leadership the Yard tradition continues today: gem quality stones and superlative craftsmanship. In paying homage to the firm’s distinguished past, Bob Gibson has revived some of its most successful designs to serve as inspiration for today’s Yard jewelry. In doing so, Bob has preserved the typical “Yard look” in his contemporary pieces, making their discriminating lineage immediately apparent to any jewelry connoisseur.
Raymond Yard circa 1950