Portraits: Stephen Webster

Meet the rock star jewellery designer.
Tuesday 28 May 2019
He has a flair for decorating the A-list.

British luxury jewellery designer Stephen Webster looks more like a rock star than a jewellery designer. Clad in a velvet jacket with his unruly hair it’s clear where his passions lie – his work and his family.

Webster is deeply involved in every part of his work from the sourcing of gemstones (he enjoys selecting the ones he wants to work on) to sketching designs for his next collection. His delicate, elegant creations are coveted by top celebrities around the world. Elizabeth Taylor, Christina Aguilera, Pink and Madonna, just to name a few, have donned his glitzy crafted pieces.

Known for telling elaborate stories through his work, Webster’s latest collections, Fish Tales, Dynamite and Jitterbug, are no different. They each bear a unique story of their own and are now distributed exclusively through Habib in Malaysia.

What is the best thing about being a jewellery designer?

For me it’s about the variety it’s given me in my life. I never thought that was why I wanted to be a jewellery designer but it’s different every day. I get to work with things that inspire people. There is something magical about jewellery – I could never have imagined that it was going to take me around the world.

Favourite piece in your current collections?

I’ve two collections running at the moment, one is called Dynamite and the other, Jitterbug. They’re very different but they are connected. I’d probably pick something from Jitterbug because it makes you smile and the idea of making your own bug suits me. The fact that it sits in the middle of a trilogy is also part of the storytelling, and that is one of our strengths.

What has been the most memorable experience in your life?

I think that was knocking on Madonna’s door and going in and meeting her for the first time. Apart from the Queen, she’s probably about the most famous person on the planet and when she asked me to come around to show my jewellery, that was quite memorable.

What makes you happy?

Life makes me happy. I mean, I’m a happy person. I try and get the most out of everything and a lot of people. I like communicating with the world. My life can be very challenging but it can also be very satisfying, so all those things add up to something that makes me happy.

What makes you feel inspired?

It’s a combination of my travelling and the materials that I work with are pretty inspiring themselves. The rest is just like something that I read or listened to; it could be quite abstract. I find other people’s work as artists inspiring, travelling is inspiring; there’s no one place.

Are you a morning or night person?

Definitely a night person even though I like the morning. But my night life means it’s more of a challenge in the morning (laughs).

Favourite movie?

I’ve always loved David Lynch films. The first time I saw Mulholland Drive, I thought wow that was amazing and I saw it again. I don’t often see films twice. Some people say “Oh, I watched that again and again,” but I’m not really that kind of person. I always like the next one.

Favourite kind of music and artiste?

David Bowie, because the first time I ever saw him I thought, “Oh my word, I don’t want to work in an office, I want to look a bit like him.’’ So I tried my best but I was only 14 then. I wanted to go to art school because I could draw but it wasn’t until I saw David Bowie that I wanted to go to art school because I thought you might end up like that. I wasn’t far from the truth. I’ve got a huge record collection and I still buy a lot of music. I like all genres – hip hop, reggae, rock, I don’t care.

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Inspecting rocks in the hot sun. @tucsongemshow @mrstephenwebster

A post shared by Stephen Webster (@stephenwebsterjewellery) on

How do you relax?

I like to be by the seaside; we’re lucky that we have a house by the sea and I find that it’s quite relaxing just to be there, and maybe I could watch a bit of sports with my dad who is 90.

Favourite comfort food?

Toasted cheese sandwiches, 100%. Some places do it better than others. I quite like them in the US, not that they’re very good with cheese but they make it in the frying pan. We don’t do it like that in England.

Hidden talent?

I’ve been hosting the Jewelers of America GEM Awards for a few years now. I quite like being on stage and I’m comfortable with it. I don’t know if it’s a talent but they keep asking me to come back to do it.

Life philosophy?

You’ve got to believe in yourself because if you don’t, it’s a real struggle for other people to believe in you. That’s more for your career and I’m lucky that my life and career are the same. My wife, daughter and brother all work for me and it’s all very connected. You’ve got to love what you do and believe in yourself.

What is the best thing about being a jewellery designer?

For me it’s about the variety it’s given me in my life. I never thought that was why I wanted to be a jewellery designer but it’s different every day. I get to work with things that inspire people. There is something magical about jewellery – I never imagined that it was going to take me around the world.

Favourite piece in your current collections?

I’ve two collections running at the moment, Dynamite and Jitterbug. They’re very different but they are connected. I’d probably pick something from Jitterbug because it makes you smile and the idea of making your own bug suits me. The fact that it sits in the middle of a trilogy is also part of the storytelling, and that is one of our strengths.

What has been the most memorable experience in your life?

I think that was knocking on Madonna’s door and going in and meeting her for the first time. Apart from the Queen, she’s probably about the most famous person on the planet and when she asked me to show my jewellery, that was quite memorable.

What makes you happy?

Life makes me happy. I mean, I’m a happy person. I try and get the most out of everything and a lot of people. I like communicating with the world. My life can be very challenging but it can also be very satisfying, so all those things add up to something that makes me happy.

What makes you feel inspired?

It’s a combination of my travelling and the materials that I work with. They are pretty inspiring themselves. The rest is just like something that I read or listened to; it could be quite abstract. I find other people’s work as artists inspiring, travelling is inspiring; there’s no one place.

Are you a morning or night person?

Definitely a night person even though I like the morning. But my nightlife means it’s more of a challenge in the morning (laughs).

Favourite movie?

I’ve always loved David Lynch films. The first time I saw Mulholland Drive, I thought wow that was amazing and I saw it again. I don’t often see films twice. Some people say “Oh, I watched that again and again,” but I’m not really that kind of person. I always like the next one.

How do you relax?

I like to be by the seaside; we’re lucky that we have a house by the sea and I find that it’s quite relaxing just to be there, and maybe I could watch a bit of sports with my dad who is 90.

Life philosophy?

You’ve got to believe in yourself because if you don’t, it’s a real struggle for other people to believe in you. That’s more for your career and I’m lucky that my life and career are the same. My wife, daughter and brother all work for me and it’s all connected. You’ve got to love what you do and believe in yourself.

Word association:

British – Toasted cheese sandwiches, David Bowie

Luxury – Time and space

Style – Individuality. Be brave.

Story – Belief

Underwater – World

Dynamite – Fragments

Jitterbug – Reassembly

Success – Enjoyment

Design – For life

Happiness – Family

UNRESERVED – Eccentricity

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