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Nailed it: iconic David Webb Tool Chest jewellery is given a new lease of life

Never has hardware been so easy to wear. A blast from the past as legendary American jeweller David Webb’s 1970s Tool Chest Collection is brought back to life.

5 September 2014

By Rachel Garrahan in New York

Think American jewellery design and the name David Webb immediately springs to mind.

During a relatively short career, the designer - who was only 50 when he died in 1975 - created many iconic pieces, ranging from his animal bracelets to his bold, colour-rich totem necklaces. 

In that time he built an enviable client list that included Wallis Simpson, Jackie Kennedy and American Vogue editor, Diane Vreeland. 

The work at his Madison Avenue atelier continues today as a team of highly skilled craftspeople recreate this quintessentially modern David Webb jewellery from his archive of 40,000 designs.

The company is now entering a new era with the introduction of its first e-commerce platform, and it is marking the occasion with the relaunch of the iconic David Webb Tool Chest Collection.

The collection was created by Webb in 1971 as the new decade ushered in a period of uncluttered elegance in reaction to the chaos of the tumultuous 1960s. 

Always open to inspiration, whether from a book of knots or Egyptian antiquities at the Metropolitan Museum, David Webb took the humble nail - that most basic of building tools - and adapted it for high jewellery.

The collection includes gold curved bracelets, knotted neck collars, spiral earrings and knotted nail cufflinks, and is designed to be worn by men and women, any time, anywhere, with anything.

One of my favourite pieces is a gold crossover David Webb Tool Chest bangle, with diamond and platinum tips decorating the nails, which can be worn on its own or stacked for extra impact.

The bold curves of the Infinity Nail earrings, with the designer's signature hammered finish that demands to be touched, elevate the mathematical symbol to new heights of beauty.

Minimalist as the collection is, the Double Tip Nail ring adds some of David Webb's signature colour, with the nail wrapping itself around the finger, topped and tailed with a choice of ruby, amethyst or turquoise cabochons.

The most elegant hardware around is available at, Net-a-Porter, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus stores across the United States.

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