Dorothy Kohl stands over a magnificent array of jewels: a two-headed dragon cuff, their mythical mouths biting each end of a diamond-studded clasp. An orange sorbet-hued, bubble gum-sized cocktail ring. An emerald green necklace of large geometric shapes accented with gold. Each was handcrafted by David Webb decades ago and underscores the reason Kohl has been collecting his bold jewels for the past 40 years.
“I don’t think there is any designer with that level of sophistication whose work has stood the test of time more than David Webb,” she says.
The sentiment echoes across the family tree, as Kohl’s daughter, Lori Gendelman (both pictured right, photo by Rose E. Martin), also began wearing David Webb pieces around the same time and has since amassed her own collection.
The mother-daughter duo’s longtime affinity for the jewelry is one reason they are fitting chairpersons for the Norton Museum’s January 15 cocktail reception to kick off the “David Webb: Society’s Jeweler” exhibition. They gave PBI a peek into their jewelry boxes and shared their admiration for the creator.
- Tickets cost $250, and proceeds benefit the Norton.
- For more information, call 561-832-5196 or visit norton.org/davidwebbpremiere.
Designed in the 1960s, the elephant’s face is made of pearl, accentuated by small emerald eyes. The headpiece consists of a large carved emerald and diamonds.
Photo by Ilan Rubin
How long have you been collecting David Webb pieces?
DK: I started collecting David Webb in the early 1970s and immediately developed an addiction. For any special occasion, like birthdays and anniversaries, I would always say to my husband that I would like to get a piece from David Webb. That’s how my collection grew.
LG: The first David Webb pieces I purchased were in 1976 when I got married. I gave my husband a wedding gift of cufflinks and a stud set of tigers with emerald eyes.
What’s a beloved piece in your collection?
DK: A necklace, a cuff bracelet and earrings made of pearls, carved rubies and diamonds. It’s quite stunning and something I’ve never seen repeated.
LG: I have a white enamel bracelet and earring set I enjoy and treasure.
What excites you most about the exhibition?
DK: It’s wonderful to be able show people through an exhibition jewelry of such quality and timelessness. … During his relatively short life, Webb produced masses of jewelry. He must have stayed up every night designing.
LG: I think David Webb is in a class of his own. His jewelry is so distinctive. I love his animal bracelets. Being such a fan, it will be such a treat to see all the different fabulous pieces in the exhibition.
Heraldic Maltese Cross Coral Brooch
Designed by Webb in 1964, this exquisite cross is made out of Cabochon green onyx, a circular-cut diamond and a sapphire center. The extending four coral arms also contains circular-cut diamonds and gold.
Photo by Ilan Rubin