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- Art Deco, David Webb, designer of fine jewelry, Elizabeth Taylor, enamel, Estate Jewelry, gold chains, Great Estate jewelry event, Lana Turner
Scheherazade Jewelers is pleased to announce that the Galleria-based jewelry store’s bi-annual Great Estate jewelry event (October 31 to November 2) just got a little greater. Recent news from Geolat Mondial, Scheherazade’s estate jewelry partner for this event, has expanded an already huge assortment of estate jewelry with last-minute additions of jewelry from none other than jewelry designer and legend David Webb.
Birth of a Legend
David Webb was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. He began designing jewelry as a young boy when he apprenticed in his uncle’s silversmith shop where David learned metalsmithing techniques. At the young age of 17, David traveled to New York City to get a job repairing jewelry in Greenwich Village. His talents got the notice of wealthy socialite Antoinette Quilleret and together they opened a shop in 1945. Known for her business savvy, Antoinette brought on Nina Silberstein to handle the bookkeeping.
With David’s skills, Antoinette’s social connections, and Nina’s business acumen, the budding designer’s jewelry gained immediate attention and with that David Webb, Inc. was founded. David was a highly skilled jeweler who would often take the time to work with his artisans to demonstrate exactly how he wanted his jewelry to be crafted. No detail, no matter how small, escaped his expert and watchful eye.
This attention to detail and the expert craftsmanship to create such specifics were at the heart of the custom creations for New York’s wealthy socialites. His artisan approach quickly expanded David’s clientele and soon his work was in high demand, catching the attention of department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman. In time, his jewelry designs became highly sought after by the most distinguished jewelry connoisseurs.
As David created more and more fine jewelry, he developed a penchant for animal and nature inspirations. The depth and breadth of these designs would eventually make an indelible mark in David’s jewelry designing and making legacy.
David also developed a fondness for Art Deco inspired designs. (He was best known for combining diamonds, enamel and South Sea pearls.) The jewelry designer was known as an innovator, brightly colored bold animal motifs, and luxurious necklaces.
David Webb’s quick ascension into New York’s thriving social scene helped make him a near instant success, closely linking the designer’s work to wealthy socialites and movie stars of the day. Five years after opening his doors a pair of David Webb’s earrings made the cover of Vogue magazine. He was only 25 at the time. This would soon be just the beginning of the fashion magazines’ obsession with David’s jewelry creations.
Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s his jewelry was regularly featured in the leading fashion reads with products showcased on glossy pages. Leading models, notable socialites and trending celebs were seen wearing his jewelry in fashion shoots, photo spreads and on magazine covers.
Most notables include then up-and-coming Barbara Streisand who at 22 appeared in fashion shots wearing David Webb jewelry. Swedish actress Britt Ekland transformed pearls from being traditional jewelry to sexy accessories. Lauren Hutton, who appeared on the cover of Vogue a record-breaking 41 times, made David Webb’s fluted cuffs in rock crystal and coral famous in 1971. And, in the 1970’s then young Diane von Furstenberg appeared on the cover of Vogue wearing a big, bold David Webb necklace.
His star power in the early days paved the way for such success in the 1970’s. Movie legends such as Ava Gardner and Lana Turner wore David Webb jewelry both on and off the silver screen. Style mavens including Princess Grace of Monaco, the Duchess of Windsor, Merle Oberon, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were also loyal customers.
Known as one of the world’s leading collectors of fine jewelry, Elizabeth Taylor owned a number of David Webb’s pieces. In her book My Love Affair with Jewelry Elizabeth Taylor had four pages dedicated exclusively to the David Webb jewelry she had purchased over the years.
Legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar Diana Vreeland was never without her signature David Webb black and white enamel zebra bangle with tiny diamonds interspersed on its mane and cabochon ruby eyes. This type of undying loyalty by leading celebrities, as well as fashion and social icons of the day made David Webb a living legend.
Continuing the Legacy
But as with all shooting stars, David Webb’s intense brightness faded as quickly as it lit up the worlds of fashion, jewelry and movie making. Born in 1925, he tragically died from pancreatic cancer 50 years later. Although his actual designing career lasted a few decades, in his lifetime David Webb stood should to shoulder with jewelry design greats including Cartier, Tiffany, and Harry Winston to name a few.
David Webb maintains that standing decades later thanks to Nina Silberstein, his original business partner. Back then as today, each piece of David Webb jewelry is 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. To this day David Webb’s original jewelry remains highly collectable with pieces available during Scheherazade’s Great Estate jewelry sale from October 31 to November 2.