David Webb,

The Menagerie Genius

27th September 2019

The extravagant Art Déco jeweler, David Webb, is internationally renowned for his bold designs, combination of bright colors and big volume creations. His jewels are mainly inspired by exotic animals, nature’s curiosities and fantastic world, such as seashells, frogs and dragons.

 

At age 17, Webb moved to New York and started his own jewelry repairing business, and it’s only 5 years later, in 1948, that he opened his first store. His passion for gemstones and his crafts ability led him to create innovative and colorful creations that stood out from the crowd.

David Webb Jewelry. Legends on pictures

This self-taught jeweler constantly looked for creating exuberant and figurative pieces, inspiring himself from Ancient Greek and Egyptian jewels. David Webb built his sparkling menagerie from the 1940s’, while at the time, the trend for animal jewels was just starting, notably launched by Jean Toussaint with the Panther for Cartier.

His daring designs won the heart of many celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, Princess Grace of Monaco and Barbara Streisand.

In 1975, David Webb tragically died from cancer at age 50, leaving his company to his long-term business partner Nina Silberstein. In 2010, Sima Ghadamian, Mark Emanuel, and Robert Sadian bought the company for $11M USD, saving the jewelry brand from bankruptcy.

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David Webb

Jackie Kennedy

David Webb Earrings, 1966

Elizabeth Taylor

David Webb Brooch, 1967

DISRUPTIVE CREATIONS

David Webb’s high skills in crafts allowed him to modulate stones into spectacular pieces. In fact, red coral is a key stone for lots of his designs such as these 3 bracelets presenting an important pieces of carved orange coral. The bangles are made of yellow gold, diamonds and emeralds, which contrast perfectly with the bright coral.

What also strikes in David Webb’s jewelry is that gold doesn’t only act as a mounting element but as a main creative actor. The precious material is twisted, sculpted and hammered to give innovative and voluminous shapes. It creates rather heavy and strong creations making them real statement pieces.

Black, white or colorful enamel, turquoise and rock crystal are also regularly used in his jewels. Cabochon cut gemstones are privileged, which emphasize the volume and create a mat finish.

David Webb Jewelry. Legends on pictures

IN THE GLOSSY PAGES

Nowadays David Webb shines bright in the magazines: advertisement is strong with provocative and sensual images. They are calling at renowned models to show off their creations:  Carolyn Murphy, Eniko Mihalik, Tali Lennox as well as Anna and Pat Cleveland. The famous photographer, Terry Richardson, also collaborated with the brand for the shooting of the 2011/2012 campaign (see below).

"Everybody wants something original.

Women will shop all day for originality.

Design is the most important thing.”

– D. Webb

David Webb Campaigns. Legends on pictures. 

INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE

The American jewels are also very much seen on the Red Carpet worn by A-list actresses. Just like this week at the Emmy Awards, the Game of Thrones’ actress, Emilia Clarke, was wearing David Webb earrings. Celebrities also promote the creations at various events such as Rihanna who wore a 5 pieces-set worth $833k USD last June 2019.

David Webb’s eccentric pieces are mainly attracting American clients, both young and mature women. The brand currently owns 2 boutiques, in New York and in Beverly Hills. Most of the creations can also be purchased online on their official website. It is also frequent to find David Webb’s jewels at auctions sales, especially in New York.

Celebrities Wearing David Webb Jewels in 2019. Legends on pictures.