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Joining me at the Harbor Ridge Women's Club luncheon, from left, are Ruth Peltason, author of "David Webb: The Quintessential American Jeweler," Kevin Parker, Director of the David Webb boutique in Beverly Hills, and club Program Chair Sandy Chiles

Joining me at the Harbor Ridge Women’s Club luncheon, from left, are Ruth Peltason, author of “David Webb: The Quintessential American Jeweler,” Kevin Parker, Managing Director of David Webb Beverly Hills, and club Program Chair Sandy Chiles

When I was asked to attend a Harbor Ridge Women’s Club’s luncheon by Sandy Chiles, I was quick to say yes because the program was about American jeweler David Webb. I’ve always loved his work and was introduced to author Ruth Peltason, whose recently-released book, “David Webb: The Quintessential American Jeweler,” was the subject of her talk that day.

The 57-guest luncheon, held in a private room at The Ritz Restaurant & Garden in Newport Beach, included ladies I have known for years and who are known to be avid David Webb jewelry collectors. Kevin Parker, Managing Director of David Webb, Beverly Hills, is well known to them because they have purchased most of their beautiful David Webb baubles from him over the years. Kevin’s guests included Renata Ackerman, Deanne Baldwin, Mary Dell Barkouras, Barbara Bowie, Margaret Kott, Elizabeth Lewis, and Sally Jac Schafer. Chiles, who is program chairman for the 100+-member Harbor Ridge Women’s Club, has been a collector for years. “One of my first purchases was a pair of gold earrings from the David Webb boutique in Amen Wardy in the mid-80s,” she said.

Parker brought some beautiful examples of Webb’s glamorous jewelry to display alongside Peltason’s stunning book. You couldn’t take your eyes off the displayed jewelry or the beautiful illustrations in the book. Clearly, David Webb was a genius. His signature animal bracelets and richly colored assortment of fine jewelry are as much a statement today as they were in the ’60s and ’70s when he was the go-to jeweler for the society swans and Hollywood stars.

Peltason, a New York-based author, editor and lecturer, confessed she was intrigued to write a book about Webb. “I’m mad about him!” she said. “More importantly, a study of Webb and his work is long overdue. I liked that he was an American jeweler and considered it a wonderful opportunity to honor our country’s cultural legacy.”

Peltason said Webb was 17 years old, “with no money and just a dream,” when he came to New York City to work in the diamond district in 1942. By 1944, he had opened his first shop on 47th Street with three employees, and by 1950, his jewelry was featured on the cover of Vogue, the first time a designer’s jewelry appeared on the cover of a magazine. From then until the day he passed away in 1975 at the early age of 50 from pancreatic cancer, he took the jewelry world by storm with his work appearing on the covers of the biggest fashion magazines and at the same time receiving the top industry jewelry awards. His modern, bold, stylish, elegant, and beautifully made jewelry attracted women from all walks of life – from civic leaders, style icons and the famous, among them Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Diane von Furstenberg, the Duchess of Windsor, Barbra Streisand, Sophia Loren, Diana Vreeland, Guy de Rothschild, Estee and Evelyn Lauder, and Gwen Stefani. He truly was America’s quintessential jeweler! 

Peltason said Webb left behind 40,000 drawings and production records, so, “the well is not dry,” she said. “Today, they are making David Webb Jewelry the way he always wanted it to be made.”

Thanks are due to Chiles for putting together the program, to Luncheon Chair Liz Schnepple, and to club President, Megan Wagner, for the elegant, informative affair. And, kudos to Kevin Parker for making Peltason’s appearance possible. The best news? I won the raffle prize, Peltason’s amazing book on one of our country’s iconic jewelers! Hear! Hear!

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