Stephen Webster has been designing and creating contemporary accessories for just over 30 years. He?s become a favourite among many celebrities such as Jay-Z, Madonna, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, and Christina Aguilera – the face of his new campaign.
Having brought bold and colourful gemstones back to the West End, ?the ultimate diamond geezer? tells Claire Campbell about his inspiration, extravagance and some fashion faux pas.
Stephen, your jewellery designs have a glamorous rock and roll feel, is there anything else that inspires you?
Over the past few years I feel in a position where my life, my likes and my interests have become so entwined with my work that I can genuinely say a client is buying into a piece of Stephen Webster. A lot of my musical heroes have become clients and friends. My home, much to my family?s exasperation is full of stuffed animals, skulls and exotic bugs. I have been lucky enough to be asked to customise a Harley Davidson and a Gibson Les Paul guitar. As well as my day job I am a columnist for Russian Rolling Stone magazine. As you can see I have a few influences.
I believe you have many celebrity fans that you design for, but are you a fan of anyone at the moment?
I like to think that I am open to all kinds of music. As well as all my old favourites Bowie, Roxy music, The Clash etc, I am currently listening to The Kills, The Raconteurs and The Ting Tings.
You have been designing for over 30 years, have you got any fashion disasters you can tell us about?
All my fashion disasters have been about my clothes rather than my designing. I lived in Canada for three years which is where I hit a particular low point. I refuse to talk about it even to this day. But my brother said at the time ?how could a young guy with a reasonable sense of style lose it so completely in such a short time?.
If you weren?t designing jewellery, what would you be doing?
If I wasn?t designing jewellery I would spend more time managing my band The Rotten Hill Gang.
What is the most extravagant piece you have ever designed?
The most extravagant piece I have designed is not about the mere price but more about the audacity of it all. An 80 year old Californian who had been advised by her doctor to quit smoking commissioned me to make an exact replica cigarette in 18ct gold and enamel. I used fire opal as the business end and a piece of mammoth bone as the filter. She could always be found on a bike machine at her gym complete with personal trainer and the placebo in a long cigarette holder until the day she passed over to the great ashtray in the sky.
Are diamonds really a girls best friend?
If diamonds are your best friends girls you really should get out more – diamonds are lovely but oranges are not the only fruit.
Having played a part in making jewellery fashionable and wearable for men, where do you see the direction of the jewellery world heading in the near future?
The trend for men?s jewellery has acquired so much momentum that the only way forward is for it to get more and more creative and interesting. The stigma now gone, it?s about individualising ones self by choosing pieces that will provoke comment and therefore make the wearer feel good about their decisions.
And finally, is all that glitters gold?
All that glitters is not gold. Some of it is fools gold as we well know. Also, not all gold glitters.