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Rocking The Jewels
Stephen Webster
By: Diamond World News Service
Aug 16 2014 1:29PM
Reference: 9454  

He is not your quintessential, tweezers holding and lens depended jewellery designer. He is different and different in not just one but many ways. He has a rockstar persona and creates jewel masterpieces that are an extension of his personality. He is the favourite of celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Charlize Theron, Sharon Stone, Madonna, etc. He is Stephen Webster. Priyanka Desai meets with the man who puts the rocks in the rock-n-roll and unearths his story.

So, here in India when you meet a jeweller or even a young jewellery designer, the one thing that catches your attention is his/her seriousness. A seriousness in talks, in attire and everything else. There is a certain kind of conformity to their personalities, which reflect in their design. But, you meet Stephen Webster and all of your preconceived notions about the industry are broken to pieces. Stephen is a rock star and his personality exudes that swag, like no other jeweller can. He dresses the part and talks the lingo, making one wonder if this is the 'real person' behind the heady jewels that have adorned the likes of Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlize Theron, and many, many more celebrities. He indeed is, because once he starts talking about jewellery, the already electric atmosphere in the room becomes even more energetic. It is this energy and electricity that has made him stay at the top of his game since the inception of his brand, Stephen Webster Ltd in 1989.

Stephen is a born artist and at the young age of 16, he was already permitted admission in a prestigious art school. The only glitch was that Stephen aspired to become a fashion designer then. But, fate had different and better plans for him and he stumbled upon the jewellery designing class by mistake. Thus the world got a magician who redefined fine jewellery.

Reminiscing about those days, Stephen says, "To be honest my foray into jewellery was slightly by accident! I was going to study fashion design at the Medway College in Kent and by chance walked into a jewellery designing class rather than the fashion designing class. The flames, noise, chemicals and shiny objects were instantly appealing and much more up my alley than fashion design. I guess it was a good choice as 38 years later I am still at it!"

By now, I am sure the readers are aware that this designer is nothing like what they have seen, met or heard about. Thus, when I say that Stephen can be inspired even by a fishbone to make an intriguing jewel masterpiece, you will not be too surprised. "My inspiration comes from the everyday objects, sights and people around me… The sea, gems, film noir, tattoos, rose bushes, broken glass, architecture, even fish bones can be immensely inspiring to me," quips the jewel rockstar.

Be it the flowers, bees, fishes, exotic flies, etc., Stephen has conjured creations that have made the world take notice. His creations were always unique and I would say they are what the concept 'out of the box' defines. And mind you, it is just not now that he has broken the rules and made his own but he started with this trend long before the industry was ready for it. From being an apprentice for a few years in Canada to being the creative head behind the legendary London brand, Garrads, Stephen has travelled and worked his way from down below to way up. There was even a time, when he didn't have much clientele in the United Kingdom, which made him travel to the United States quite often to sell his jewels. He even moved to California for a few years, before finding a permanent home, heart and roots in England.

We asked him to give us an example of a creative procedure, that created a rage in the industry and pat comes the reply, "The Crystal Haze collection put us on the map and is still our most iconic collection. It is a concept I developed after years of playing with crystal and other coloured gem stones. We use a faceted layer of rock crystal set on top of a thin layer of a coloured gem, creating the most unusual and breathtaking colour combinations and light effects within a piece of jewellery."

It is clear from his clients repertoire that the corner stone for his growth apart from his immense talent and creativity is also the horde of celebrity clients that have made him one of the most revered jewellery designers of the world, but Stephen says it is just not the beauty that he perceives in his patrons but also a strong character. When requested to describe the kind of woman that adorns his jewellery, he informs, "I love seeing women and men of all ages, shapes and sizes wearing our pieces with confidence and pleasure. Someone with character will always be my choice over just beauty but I am happy with both."

Talking about men, my next question is to know more on men's jewellery trend. "Men love manly materials such as Flint, Bloodstone or Spiderman jasper. We are always looking for new materials to introduce. I swear if there was a stone called testosterone it would be a winner," he states with a chuckle. We then ask him to share his style secret that makes this rockstar persona. To this he says, "I always wear at least three bracelets from my men’s collections and my wedding ring. Men’s wrist jewellery is having a moment. Worn on either side of your watch or mixing leather, beaded and silver; a bracelet is probably the easiest jewellery choice for a guy."

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