Considered one of the most important and innovative American jewelry designers, David Webb’s creations are characterized by bold design, imaginative color and unexpected juxtapositions of texture large gemstones. Achieving international acclaim during the 1960s, the David Webb name has since attracted tasteful private collectors and celebrities alike with a unique vision and non-traditional approach to jewelry design.
Originally offering abstracted designs in the polychromatic style of the 1950s, he introduced his now famous animal jewelry in the early 1960s, influenced by the earlier work of Cartier’s Jeanne Toussaint, and heralding a return to the use of figural forms in bold, assertive materials. He created an assortment of creatures, from crabs and frogs to an array of jungle animals.
For design inspiration, Webb often looked to early civilizations—from Greece, Rome, Assyria and India to Central and North America. Webb’s ability to juxtapose these varying source materials with his skilled craftsmanship, reminiscent of 18th and 19th century masters including Lalique and Fabergé, gave rise to one of the most recognizable aesthetics of American jewelry.
At the time of his death, fashion editor Diana Vreeland expressed her conviction that Webb had not yet received full credit for his contribution to American jewelry design. Lots 123 – 127 provide examples of a few of Webb’s iconic motifs and signature style.