See Heiress Doris Duke’s Priceless Jewelry in Newport Show

A new exhibition spotlights gems that New York designer David Webb reinvented for Duke

A pair of emerald and diamond David Webb earrings. Photo: Courtesy of David Webb

For most of her life, heiress Doris Duke (1912–1993) followed the advice her father had given her on his deathbed in 1925: “Trust no one.” Yet for all her guardedness, she trusted someone: New York jewelry designer David Webb. Having inherited priceless stones and older jewels, Duke asked Webb to reinvent them as pieces she actually wanted to wear.

On view until November 11 at Rough Point, her estate in Newport, Rhode Island, “Designing for Doris: David Webb Jewelry and Newport’s Architectural Gems” showcases the designer’s creations for Duke along with architectural renderings of the area’s Federal and Colonial houses she worked hard to restore.

A drawing of a Turquoise and Sapphire necklace. Photo: Courtesy of David Webb
A presentation drawing of Cultured Pearl and Diamond Earrings, 1966. Photo: Courtesy of the David Webb Archives
A presentation drawing of a Diamond Foliate Brooch, 1957. Photo: Courtesy of the David Webb Archives

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2018 Summer Issue in the Artful Life section. Subscribe to the magazine.


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