10 Questions with Stephen Webster
From the first piece of jewellery he created to his first luxury purchase. We get up close and personal to Stephen Webster with your questions....
What did the 1st piece of jewellery you got paid for look like? Do you have a photo, if so post it please?
The first piece of jewellery that I made as an apprentice was a heavy handmade curb linked 9 karat yellow gold bracelet. The height of fashion in the 1971, I don’t have a picture of the piece but I am sure you can imagine what it looked like from the description.
What was your first-ever luxury purchase?
A Vivienne Westwood mohair jumper, pillar box red and very hairy.
Which profession would you choose, if you lived twice?
I think I it would have been between a jeweller / entertainer or global traveller – which feels like maybe I am living 3 lives in 1!
Are you a collector? If so, what do you collect, and why?
I am a passionate collector, my homes are cabinets of curiosity. If I don't collect it someone else will.
I'd love to know how the inspiration for your collections come about, and of all your previous collections which journey was the most interesting and why?!
Over the 42 year period I’ve been inspired by many things in my life – encounters, experiences and places. I cannot think of anyone that was more interesting than the other – probably because they often come about from the most abstract starting points. Example my Jewel Verne collection is based on experiences from my childhood.
What is your favourite material to work with, and why?
Gold, it does all I ask with very little resistance.
I heard you in an interview once mention that when your daughter was a baby you would take her to the workshop with you. I’m a new mum attempting to do the same with my baby girl, it's proving much harder than anticipated. How did you manage and what advice would you give me in order to continue pursuing my dream of building my jewellery business while also keeping my daughter close to me?
It is true I used to take my daughter Amy to work with me. The secret was being able to rock her in her baby chair whilst still being able to carry out the necessary jewellery tasks at the bench. It became a bit like playing the drums. When I could no longer rock Amy, my then apprentice Michael Oddey would help me.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you?
My family, there are three of them, we can sort the rest out later.
Breaking into the high-end jewellery scene can often take businesses generations whereas you have done it in a rather short period of time. Which factors do you believe have allowed you to do this? What would you define as the turning point in your career to break into this scene?
My apprenticeship was in fine jewellery. I was lucky to have worked for some of the most noted designers in the 1970s/ 1980s. Good training and blind ambition drove me forward to pursue my own business as a fine jeweller. Having spent almost 10 years over in the US this certainly gave me confidence in my ability and a broader vision. All of which have helped to build the business we have today.
What's the one piece of jewellery every man should own, and why?
A statement ring sorts the men from the boys.
If you could change one thing about the jewellery industry - what would it be?
Probably that we weren’t so reliant about bringing everything up from the ground.