In 1941 at the age of 16, David Webb travelled from his birthplace, Asheville, North Carolina to New York City. His special gifts as a jeweler and designer soon became apparent. In 1948 with the backing of Antoinette Quilleret, a French woman with exquisite taste and an eye for talent, he formed David Webb Inc, setting up shop on 57th Street.
By his untimely death in 1975, David Webb had established himself as the ‘go to’ jeweler in Manhattan. His two fulltime workshops employed 150 jewelers. The entire social registry could be named as his clients. Customers flocked to him and appreciated his personal charm and brilliance as a designer. A significant amount of time and energy was dedicated to creating special order pieces – items custom designed for the client.
He listened carefully to the times, to the culture of the past and of the moment. His designs in the 1950s and early 1960s incorporated a bridaled conservatism. The jewelry was delicate, ladylike and traditional, yet at times bursting with his love for nature and overflowing with floral motifs and animal imagery. Almost all of his iconic animal jewelry was designed in the 1960s. By the turn of the decade, David Webb was trailblazing a new style, an emboldened look that spoke to a new era. The times were changing and he embraced them. The rich vocabulary of hammered gold, enamel, colors, textures and shapes were synthesized into a new geometry that reflected the spirit of the 1970s.