Shopping: Stephen Webster to open Rodeo Drive jewelry store
British fine jewelry designer Stephen Webster is famous for treating diamonds, emeralds and rubies with an irreverence typically reserved for rhinestones.

Recent pieces from his eponymous collection include a ring festooned with a giant lobster made of diamonds and red corral, a bracelet featuring pave-set poison ivy in yellow gold and rings symbolizing the seven deadly sins — "lust," for example, boasts a brilliant blue tanzanite stone surrounding by feverishly reaching arms and legs rendered in white gold.

And though Webster's offbeat aesthetics — which meld rocker, gothic and even biker sensibilities — have long had a presence in Neiman Marcus and other upscale retailers in the U.S., his first stateside store will debut Monday in Beverly Hills.

The two-floor boutique, which will feature Webster's entire collection, will also multitask as an art gallery, a private dinner space boasting a custom-made table that seats 24 and a full-blown swanky bar. ("It's not like I'm serving champagne in the back," noted the designer. "This is a proper thing.")

Webster, who also has plans to open a store in New York at some point, said he decided to make his U.S. debut in L.A. because of the unique nature of the storefront itself. "The space above the retail space became very important to me," he said. "I love all my stores …but I want to make this the first Stephen Webster-curated space."

Webster, who collects urban art in his personal life, said he's new to the gallery game, but "I have a lot of people I want to show." The gallery above the store will open with a mixture of works "from artists I like," including Banksy and Sarah Lucas. Renowned British artist Tracey Emin has created a neon piece for the store itself that reads, "I promise to love you."

And because the new store has a huge front window that's "really useless for jewelry," said Webster, the shop will showcase revolving window displays created by L.A. stylists, starting with music world stylist Marjan Malakpour.

"How L.A.!" exclaimed Webster. "It's a city full of stylists; you're never going to run out."

But of course the main attraction at Stephen Webster is the bling, which ranges in price from $200 for basic pieces in the brand's silver collection to $40,000 for gold-based fine jewelry pieces (custom pieces can cost upwards of $125,000).

On a street full of staid, stately jewelry, Webster's playful baubles will certainly stand out. "I could not do just ordinary jewelry," said the designer. "Forget it. There's a confidence that you get through having done something for such a long time. And the more confident you become, the better you get at it and the more creative everything gets."

Stephen Webster, 202 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 246-9500. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.


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