David Webb History & Facts
by Sasha t on Mar 09, 2021
Now that we’ve covered the main jewelry eras and precious gemstones, it’s time for us to dive into famous, world-recognized jewelry designers. Signed jewelry has always been desirable due to its credibility, top-quality materials, and exquisite craftsmanship. The industry's famous jewelry names include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co, Bvlgari, Boucheron, Graff, and many others. This week we will be discussing the boldest, bright, and creative American designer - David Webb.
In this blog post you will learn:
- David Webb History
- Interesting Facts
- Vintage David Webb Jewelry
- Modern David Webb Jewelry
David Webb History
David Webb is best known for his marvelous creations, such as bold, geometric gold necklaces, colorful enamel animal bracelets, Maltese cross brooches, dramatic use of pearls, diamonds, and distinctive gemstones. He was born in North Carolina in 1925. When he was 17, in 1945 he moved to New York City with his partner and opened his first shop after a three-year apprenticeship as a silversmith. David Webb said: “I had a tremendous feeling of art in me. I wanted to be an archaeologist, a ceramicist, or a jeweler. Jewelry won out”.
His natural charm and talent brought him to the attention of New York’s social elite, and later of the whole world. In 1960, Webb opened a flagship store on 57th Street in New York and designed intricate jewelry for his clients in his upstairs private salon. His celebrity clientele included Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, Lana Turner, and others. In recent years, Gwen Stefanie and Jennifer Lopez have been seen wearing David Webb’s Jewelry.
Vintage David Webb Jewelry
David Webb’s name is instantly associated with his zebra and frog bangles. He is known for the incorporation of ancient patterns, animal motifs, bold colors, and fabulous color stones. David Webb’s famous client the Duke of Windsor bought a green enameled frog bangle as a surprise for his wife in March 1964. The Dutchess loved the bangle and later received matching frog ear clips.
David Webb designed a series of Matese Cross brooches. “Women are tired of jewelry-looking jewelry,” he said. He wanted to change the world's perspective of luxury jewelry, so he crated extraordinary animal inspired jewelry, eye-catching brooches and necklaces like you've never seen before.
Besides being a master of incorporating bright color into his designs, David Webb was the Houdini of gold. He was very particular about the authentic look. He knew how to make the new look old, and to do so he called on his own bag of tricks: he analyzed the composition of gold and came up with alloys that had the patina of ancient gold; he went on weekly trips to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and studied gold objects from the Incas, from Turkey and Syria, from Egyptian artifacts unearthed in the tombs of Tutankhamun, and then refashioned them in his own hand.
Here is a David Webb Turquoise Diamond Ring we currently have available at Jack Weir & Sons:
He died tragically, but his legacy lives on
Webb died at the age of 50 from an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer in 1975, leaving behind an archive of beautiful, bold, and intricate jewelry. His archive features more than 40,000 drawings that the company uses to uphold the standard set by the renowned founder - David Webb. After his death, his legacy was preserved by his original business partner, Nina Silberstein and her family…
The Bottom Line
Favored by the influential American families, and Hollywood stars David Webb has established themselves as a pillar of the jewelry world. Highest quality craftsmanship, bold colorful designs, and magnificent gems, David Webb will always be at the heart of the jewelry world.