Cover Photo credit: Habib Jewels

The jeweller behind Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding rings bares his thoughts about how the engrossing process of writing is sometimes like jewellery making and why Brexit is a “weird period” in Britain's politics.

The designs of Stephen Webster glint under the white lights within the private room of the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, at a showcase by Habib Jewels. A closer look at the glass tables and displays unveil the self-styled punk rock jeweller's Lady Stardust and Dynamite collections. The man himself had quickly nipped out for a bit of morning sunshine before returning for our interview with Malaysia Tatler in remarkably good spirits, admitting he found the exhibition room a little too cold. 

Ever generous with stories ranging from his rallies against racism in the 70s and his role as godfather to the daughters of The Clash guitarist Mick Jones, Stephen settled down, snug in a black jacket his wife Anastasia Vatnitsky brought him.

The Punk Attitude

When asked about the punk-rock elements of the jewellery displayed, he stated, “I know Vivienne Westwood well and she was so rebellious but what was she actually doing? She believed that she felt restricted by what was going on before (the punk movement) and she wanted to make a statement.”

The early years when he started making jewellery was not the easiest but Stephen kept doing what he wanted to do to break away from what the jewellery establishment was, “I think the punk spirit came from a place of frustration where the opportunity wasn’t available for me so I had to do it myself.”

Writing As An Escapism

It was years later when he found himself designing for film stars and iconic musicians like Madonna, and when a staff had called for him to come by his shop because Sir Elton John was there, his response was that it was cool, “It was that moment when I realised that our clients are the most famous people on Earth. It was crazy.”

As his jewellery line grew so did his other passion of writing books like 'Fish Tales' and 'Goldstruck: A Life Shaped by Jewellery' which he considers an escapism, “Writing is the same escape I get when I was a young jeweller at the bench, just working and not realise that it’s already two in the morning.” On the 13-hour flight to Malaysia, Stephen spent four hours writing a piece for Forbes magazine in reply to a question that he could’ve answered in half an hour.  

The Political Mess

Drawing the parallel to when the right-wing movement was rising in politics in the 70s, Stephen likened it to Brexit, commenting how it has created a mess for everybody and confusion among politicians, “We’re going through such a weird period now which is why I got my Dynamite collection because it’s about blowing it up and starting again.”

Sharing his agreement that the field he works in is considered elitist, Stephen admitted that jewellery is a luxury and it can’t not be, “What I can do is to provide a broader selection. But, I can’t make something from fake diamonds or gold. It’s not my trade because I’m a jeweller.”  

Stephen Webster's collections such as Fish Tales and Fly By Night are available at Habib Jewels KLCC and Ampang Point. Find out more at www.habibjewels.com