David Webb Jewelry: More Than Just Vintage Appeal

Original article from theluxechronicles.com

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, David Webb began designing jewelry as a young boy. He eventually apprenticed in his uncle’s factory and by the time he was a mere teenager, he moved to New York City to pursue his craft. His jewelry designs immediately caught the attention of department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman. Besides his design genius, David Webb was a highly skilled jeweler who would often take the time to sit with his artisans and demonstrate precisely how he wanted his jewelry to be crafted. No detail, no matter how small, escaped his expert eye. Before long, David Webb jewelry was sought after by the most stylish and demanding design connoisseurs.

Although best remembered for his animal and nature inspired designs, the breadth of his design legacy is actually staggering. His repertoire of design influences spanned everything from Etruscan culture to 18th century jewels from Jaipur. In particular, his Art Deco pieces combining diamonds, enamel and south sea pearls remain completely modern. The collection of carved crystal pieces with small, discreet diamonds interspersed in the design is refreshingly subtle yet no less show stopping. My personal favorites however remain his coveted animal cuff bracelets – interlocking dragons, roaring crocodiles, slumbering turtles, regal lions – all exquisitely crafted in gold with eyes faceted of precious stones.

Tragically, David Webb died young of an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer in 1975 but not before leaving an incredibly rich and diverse archive of bold, beautiful and intricate jewelry to be treasured and carefully preserved for generations to come. To this day, his vision and legacy are carefully preserved by Nina Silberstein, his original business partner and her family in the Manhattan atelier bearing his name. Each piece is still carefully crafted from start to finish by skilled artisans in a workshop located above the flagship Madison Avenue store, the last of its kind in New York City. In 2008, David Webb will proudly celebrate its 60th anniversary.

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