I had two interesting invitations last Wednesday. One for the opening of a chocolate store billed as the adult version of Willy Wonka on steroids, and the other for world-renowned Manhattan based jeweler, David Webb, an iconic jewelry house steeped in history . Tempting as a chocolate induced euphoric experience might be, nothing will ever dissuade me from an opportunity for Jewels to play amongst the jewels!
I earned my nickname! So off I toddled on my stilettos to an exquisite reception in their new Beverly Hills store. Champagne, tiny coronettos filled with tuna tartare, and bite size potatoes topped with caviar were passed amongst the elegant bejeweled crowd. I was delighted to find David Webb patrons actually socialize as opposed to the usual Hollywood preference for networking. It is an infinitely more pleasant experience to hold entire conversations with eye contact, whilst astonishingly tweet and Google free.
You can actually learn some fascinating facts, such as… did you know that first lady Jacqueline Kennedy appointed David Webb as the official designer of state gifts for the White House in 1962?
Or, that society doyens Doris Duke and Babe Paley, along with the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Diana Vreeland, and Elizabeth Taylor all flocked to the man who would create hand crafted, designs that expressed their individual personalities in precious gems?
In fact, there was a spectacular ruby necklace originally commissioned by Doris Duke on display. Legend has it that she headed straight for Mr. Webb upon her return from a trip to India where she had acquired the flawless cabochon cut gems. He drew up four or five designs (as was his usual practice) for her to choose from before creating the magnificent piece.
My grandmother and mother were also customers. On more than one occasion I’ve been known to look on wistfully as mom wears her leopard broach, Webb circa the 1960’s, but I’ve also been the lucky beneficiary of one of his, then ground breaking, chunky hammered gold rings circa the 1970’s.
David Webb was more than a jeweler, he was a prolific artist. Any designs that were not chosen by the customer they were created for at the time were then archived. Even though he died tragically young, almost forty years ago, his legacy thrives – you can still purchase David Webb’s original designs in new, never before seen pieces today!
Although he is probably best known for his nature and animal influenced designs of the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was his modernized take on ancient Greek and Egyptian influences that have always been my favorites. In fact, how very Elizabeth Taylor is this window full of emeralds and sapphires I lusted after?
Very Cleopatra darling! Oh yes, my favorite environment to play that imaginary game I told you about during the Art in the Streets exhibition last year, flourishes in jewelry stores. Instead of thinking “ooh, I’ll have that painting and hang it over the fireplace in the living room,” it’s “which dazzling gems would I like dangling from my neck and ears, or gracing nearly every other appendage?” Jewels does love jewels, so if any of you are stumped over what to get me for the holidays – I’ve made mental notes on all my favorite David Webb pieces!
PS. Which piece is your favorite? Leave it in a comment below, because you never know where Santa goes looking for ideas!
PPS. If like me, precious gems are a little rich for your budget – family, friends, and colleagues will love the gift certificates that help them get fabulous dinners from the fridge to the table in a snap – while affording them the luxury of time. Available in one month, three months, and yearly certificates to fit every budget. They also make unique party bag and stocking stuffers, hostess and holiday gifts.