PaperCity Magazine

December 2018- Houston

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David Webb Shoelace cuff in 18K gold, $19,500. Seaman Schepps Turbo Shell earrings with round pearl ends in 18K gold. D avid Webb, who established his New York City jewelry house in 1948, soon became known for bejeweled and fantastical creatures such as tigers, panthers, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, frogs, and snakes. His pieces were inspired by ancient gold and Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and pre-Columbian artworks. A coterie of European and American royalty catapulted Webb's career; his pieces were worn and collected by Diana Vreeland, Jackie Kennedy, Gloria Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Taylor, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Lee Radziwell, and Evelyn Lauder. "The zebra bracelet, with its striking enamel work and intricate craftsmanship, is probably the most revered in our Kingdom c o l l e c t i o n , " s a y s M a r k Emanuel, co-owner of David Webb. Webb's other striking motifs included shells, A r t D e c o , h e r a l d i c , a n d z o d i a c t h e m e s . He was fearless with color and used oversized swaths of coral, turquoise, jade, and other precious stones. These a n d more are part of an extraordinary trove of 40,000 design concepts f o u n d b y t h e company after the jeweler's death in 1975, and serve as endless sources of inspiration. "We do not think of our collection in terms of old and new, but as a continuation and evolution of David Webb's distinct vision," Emanuel says. The company has reissued many of the classic pieces that had lain fallow for years, including the iconic zebra bracelet and Nail, which Webb designed in 1971 using the common nail as inspiration for 18K gold rings and bracelets. Another relaunch, Motif, incorporates Webb's original 1970s zigzags, arrows, and U shapes in simple black and white enamel, diamonds, gold, and platinum. To achieve this, Emanuel has increased the number of master jewelers at the company's New York workrooms, and brought back highly specialized artisans from Webb's original era. F or Seaman Schepps, a late 1930s trip to Hong Kong made him rethink materials in imaginative ways — he paired sea shells, coral, turquoise, and jadeite with gold, sapphires, tourmaline, and baroque pearls to create chunky brooches, barbaric bracelets, and bubble earrings with wit and style then unseen in the world of fi ne jewelry. Gleaming mother-of-pearl shell earrings with rubies and sapphires are among his most i c o n i c d e s i g n s . Schepp's cult of u n d e r s t a t e d chic was the height of fashion in the 1940s, embraced by Coco C h a n e l , E l s a S c h i a p a r e l l i , K a t h e r i n e H e p b u r n , a n d Wallis Simpson, a s w e l l a s t h e K e n n e d y s , M e l l o n s , DuPonts, and R o o s e v e l t s . U n d e r s t a t e d , yes, but Seaman Schepps' jewels are also loads of fun: cabochon emeralds the size of jelly beans and ear clips of coral koi fish swimming through turquoise and pearls. When Schepps died in 1972, he left an archive of 5,000 renderings and 650 molds, from which modern-day jewels are still made. Rebecca Sherman Above: David Webb Unity diamond earrings in 18K gold and platinum, $6,800. Right: David Webb Crescent necklace in 18K gold and platinum with lapis lazuli, cabochon turquoise, and brilliant- cut diamonds. Bottom left: Seaman Schepps Boat Link bracelet in rosewood and 18K gold, medium Link bracelet in mixed wood and 18K gold, and large Link bracelet in 18K gold. Below: Seaman Schepps Portofi no rings in 18K gold with rubies and sapphires. David Webb Bent Nail bracelet in 18K gold, $12,300. Seaman Schepps pavé Link bracelet in diamonds, in 18K white gold.

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