Stephen Webster: Provoking, Iconic and Infinitely Beautiful Jewelry.
English eccentricity and American iconography, wildlife, the high life, literature, theatre and pop culture, the ocean and the animal kingdom; these are just some of the inspirations and influences that fuel Stephen Webster’s creative engine. Combining a love of fine craftsmanship with a passion for music, fashion and art, Webster’s keen eye for detail, flair and wild imagination have assured him unique status in the contemporary jewelry world.
With references from William Blake to Jules Verne in his work, Webster’s enthusiasm, commitment and talent as a master jeweler of consummate skill, style and audacious verve have helped him to achieve numerous accolades. These include a three-time win of the "British Luxury Jeweler of the Year Award", "Diamond Jeweler of the Year", "Jeweler Designer of the Year" and "UK Jewelry Brand of the Year". Webster was bestowed with an honorary Master of Arts degree from the University of Creative Arts in 2007 for his outstanding contribution to the arts and also holds the honor of being a Liveryman of the City of London. In January 2013, he was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honors list for his services to training and skills in the British Jewelry Industry.
Born in Gravesend, Kent, draftsman’s son Stephen left his local grammar school at 16 years old to study jewelry design at Medway College of Design, Rochester, part of the Kent Institute of Art & Design whose alumni also includes Tracey Emin and Zandra Rhodes.
By the end of his first term Stephen had become consumed by a deep and incandescent passion for his metier. After completing his training under Tony Shepherd, a former Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Stephen worked as a craftsman for several established London design houses. Among many highly regarded commissions was the honor, on two occasions, of setting the De Beers Diamond Stakes Trophy. Receiving the acclaimed De Beers honor in 1982, an accreditation that marked Stephen’s official passage into the fine jewelry trade, he relocated to Canada to design for an independent jeweler. Following a brief return to the UK in 1984, Stephen identified a potential market for his jewelry in California, where his bold style combined with a brave use of colorful, exotic gems attracted a freethinking and fashion-savvy, west coast clientele.
After much success and careful expansion, Webster returned to London in 1989 to establish Stephen Webster Ltd. Some 25 years on, the brand philosophy remains the same: thrilling, beguiling, beautiful and remarkable jewelry as a bonafide lifestyle experience, founded upon the finest craftsmanship and distinctive creativity.
Throughout a four decade-spanning career, Webster has always been an advocate of ethically sourced materials, travelling to mines in Tanzania and Peru to meet the mining communities and trace the origins of the precious materials he uses in his work. He is now an ambassador for Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold and works closely with Forevermark Diamonds, the world’s most carefully selected diamonds. "We were amongst the first group of jewelers in the world to be awarded a Fair Trade Gold license," says Stephen. "We worked for three years to achieve this; our team took a trip to the gold mines in Peru that would be benefiting by working within the fair trade practices. We saw with our own eyes the difference it made to miners and their families’ lives. Ethically-sourced stones and gold are very important to us”.
Now, with a workshop and design studio in Mayfair and flagship stores on London’s super chic Mount Street and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Stephen Webster is widely considered to be one of the international scene’s most accomplished and exciting designers.
In recent years his company has expanded globally with close to 200 points of sale worldwide including the United Kingdom, United States, Russia and ex-Soviet Republics, Dubai, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Kuwait and Hong Kong. Recasting the role of the contemporary, luxury jeweler as an artist and forward-thinking designer rather than a mere artisanal technician, Stephen Webster’s approach has always been one of glistering synergy. With fashion and jewelry as dazzling and devastatingly glamorous co-conspirators, each luxurious aesthetic in Webster’s collections celebrates traditional skills and great British craftsmanship.
"Over the last ten years things have changed," Stephen explains. "Jewelry has become not just more fashionable itself but also hardwired to the wider fashion industry. This has attracted a new crowd into our world, people who probably wouldn't have been around when things were more staid, unadventurous and less acknowledging of trends. The fear factor, the reverence, the rules and formality around jewelry has all but disappeared. It’s an exciting thing - the young, fashion crowd no longer fits into a particular set. They are, more often than not, unexpected and unpredictable. I like this and feel, in some small part, responsible for the shift."