Jewelry Coffee Table Book. My Pick of the Month. David Webb: The Quintessential American Jeweler by Ruth Peltason
This entry was posted on April 9, 2015.
Ordered this book after seeing an early David Webb piece in person. I was in awe of the design and the high level of craftsmanship and variety of techniques used and it was the day I became a huge fan. I also read a blog post by GemGossip on this book too and I pretty much buy every book she recommends. I also would recommend reading her blog, especially if you are a jewelry fan. I enjoyed this comprehensive book about his work and career. I enjoyed that this book showcased his wide range of designs as opposed to showing only what he's most famous for which are his animal bracelets and mainly the pieces he designed for his famous clients, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lauren Bacall to name a few.
He was rarely photographed and took a very individualistic approach to jewelry design, mainly self taught and constantly evolving with what he was inspired by whether it be art at the Met or his own country garden in Upstate New York. I enjoyed the tidbit that he often went back to the office because he had several fresh ideas in head and had to get them on paper. Fresh ideas are what served him well and his clientele who were looking for just the right thing or something new and innovative and different from his competition at Verdura, Tiffany's and Cartier. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1975 at the age of 50 and unfortunately some of his sketches did not make it to fruition in his lifetime. However, the company still continues today, it was bought in 2010.
I felt as I was reading and scanning the beautiful images in this book, that I was looking through the catalogue of several designers. There were Ancient inspired works, some almost Cartier/Art Deco like items, Maltese Crosses that reminded me of Chanel, and nature inspired brooches that could easily be mistaken as Van Cleef and Arpels. Even though he was influenced by a lot of varied subjects, one thing was always constant, his jewelry was not for the faint at heart, everything was big and bold, while still being very classy. I highly recommend this book to any collector or lover of jewelry. It also looks lovely on my coffee table too.
Thank you for reading!