Born in 1925 in North Carolina, jewelry designer David Webb grew up idolizing his grandfather, an engraver, and at the age of 14 began an apprenticeship under his uncle, a jewelry maker. Three years later, Webb left the South to make a name for himself in Manhattan, where the brand was officially founded in 1948 with a store on West 46th Street. In the late fifties, Webb, who collected children’s books about wild animals and made weekly pilgrimages to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to study Scythian and Egyptian gold artifacts Ancient Egypt, became known for his enamelled animal works. Removing critters from homes and barns from his jewelry, the designer, who died in 1975 at the age of 50, preferred a much more bizarre and mythical ranch of big cats, horses stripes, frogs and more. His creations – from bracelets shaped like turtles to coral-carved bracelets inspired by the Hindu sea dragon makara – have been admired by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Vreeland and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis coveted and as one society reporter wrote, “as necessary as the food and drink at La Grenouille with the fashionable social clan. ”
Crucial to Webb’s creative process was the act of sketching. Thanks to these drawings – nearly 40,000 of which are now part of the brand’s archives – Webb’s legacy lives on, having inspired many of the house’s designs over the past five decades. The latest rework is a unique pair of chandelier earrings featuring two diamond-encrusted leopards poking out from behind gilded bars. Set with cabochon emeralds, brilliant-cut diamonds, black enamel, 18-karat gold and platinum, these jewels pay homage to two of Webb’s illustrations from the ’60s, one is a leopard brooch with emerald eyes and diamonds for the spots, the other is a tiger ring, the cat lies in a small gold cage placed on the fingertip. (The latter was eventually manufactured by the manufacturer in 2018.) Commissioned by a longtime collector of David Webb, these majestic cats are as bold today as when the designer’s pencils were first. first touch the paper.
Photo assistant: Sam Kang. Designer’s Assistant: Kayleigh Snowden
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/t-magazine/david-webb-leopard-earrings.html A pair of diamond-encrusted leopards from Menagerie by David Webb