David Webb, an American jeweler from the 60s
Born in North Carolina in 1925, David Webb first served as his uncle’s apprentice goldsmith. At the age of 17, he moved to New York where he seduced the American high society. In addition to his jewellery, he also designed fashion accessories and other works of art. He was most famous during the 1960s and made a deep impression on American jewellery.
Jacqueline Kennedy, First Lady at that time, ordered paperweights from him to make official gifts for the White House. According to her, he incarnated the Florentine goldsmith Cellini, while the Duchess of Windsor saw in him a new Fabergé.
Davis Webb’s jewellery combines elegance and technical mastery. Using highly skilled craftsmen who are experts in gem-setting and enameling, his jewellery is decorated with shimmering colours.
He carved, for example, coral, jade and rock crystal into complex shapes and patterns. The gold was hammered, chiselled and polished by hand to obtain an antique patina. Webb even used a special alloy to get as close as possible to electrum, a natural mixture of gold and silver that was highly prized in antiquity.
Historical motifs from China, Mexico, Greece and India were used extensively by Webb. His travels and frequent visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art inspired him greatly. He had a real fascination for the geometric forms of Art Deco.
His jewels show the progression of his style. From the floral variations of the 1950s to what Vogue magazine called “the fantasy bestiary” in the 1970s.
The designer also collaborated with some of his famous clients such as Doris Duke, fashion editor Diana Vreeland or Elizabeth Taylor with whom he created unique pieces.
Photographed by Richard Avedon or Irving Penn and praised by Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country, his jewellery made the fashion of the 1960s. They appeared regularly in Hollywood films, worn by great actresses such as Doris Day, Susan Hayward and Lana Turner.
The year 1975 was marked by the untimely death of David Webb at the age of 50.
The company was then taken over by its president, Nina Silberstein, who continued to work with David Webb’s sketches and reinterpreted them.
In 2009, the company was bought by Mark Emanuel and Robert Sadian.
Since then, these new owners have used nearly 40,000 designs and sketches to bring many pieces of jewellery back to life and keep the David Webb style alive!
If you are interested in David Webb’s jewels, don’t hesitate to discover what les Pierres de Julie have to offer in the store…
We are also available for any free expertise of your David Webb jewelry, for that you can send an email with your photos to email@example.com.