Established in London in 1989, Stephen Webster is known for its instantly recognisable and powerful aesthetic. Today the contemporary jewellery brand has over 100 points of sale worldwide, including the Stephen Webster flagship Mount Street salon and franchise stores in Seoul and Kiev.
At the core of the company’s ethos lies a deep respect for traditional British craftsmanship and goldsmithing, but the brand is also dedicated to cutting-edge processes and to the creation of daring, intricate designs. Taking influence from art, fashion, music, literature, and the natural world, Stephen Webster’s collections are always fuelled by his own nomadic life experiences and cross-cultural references.
Rebellious yet ethical, the brand is environmentally conscious and committed to using materials that are always thoughtfully and responsibly sourced, and in 2021 Stephen Webster won the inaugural Grosvenor Sustainability Award, recognising the brand’s past, present, and future commitment to sustainability. During the pandemic, the company also raised over £12,000 for Mind, the UK mental health charity, helping to support those in lockdown.
Today the brand thrives under its founder and Creative Director, Stephen Webster, and now his daughter, Amy Webster. Last year saw Stephen Webster utilising fine British craftsmanship at its very best, as witnessed by the specially commissioned silver bar toolkit, The Winston Bar. Winston is the name of a rescue owl that inspired the creation. ‘Receiving a commission on such a significant scale and in silver, especially in 2021, is quite extraordinary,’ says Stephen. ‘These eccentric large-scale pieces for the home are almost a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is the kind of project we’ll spend a year working on, from the moment of conception with the client to the final finished piece.’
The client wanted a bar toolkit incorporating an owl with a six-foot wingspan. ‘We had to lay the huge design proposal out on the kitchen table,’ says Stephen. ‘Even he was a bit shocked when he realised the size but confirmed it was absolutely what he wanted, and the project was a pleasure from the start.’
The design depicts the rescue owl and its prey, presented as tools, intricately hung from the owl’s perch, and the owl’s head uncovers a cocktail shaker, a surprise showstopper. ‘This piece is a cross between sculpture and the high technique of silversmithing and toolmaking, as well as hand engraving, chasing, and enamelling – it’s a project of so many parts,’ says Stephen. Stephen turned to the very finest craftspeople, some of whom he had known for 35 years or more. ‘I needed to pull in British craftspeople with skills beyond those you’d find within the jewellery arena,’ he says. ‘The end result of all their combined expertise and creativity was amazing. When the client saw the finished piece for the first time, he was speechless. The huge scale is one thing but when you begin to have a closer look at it, the detail is quite extraordinary – truly exceptional. In fact, I know The Winston Bar comprises better craftsmanship than many silver museum pieces so I hope – in fact – I’m sure it will end up somewhere like the Victoria & Albert Museum.’