Sophie Bille Brahe’s new David Hockney-inspired jewellery collection

Sophie Bille Brahe was inspired by a David Hockney painting for her new jewellery collection, Splash Bleu

Woman with wet slicked hair wearing long pearls earrings
(Image credit: TBC)

‘The way I use pearls breaks with the traditional way of using pearls; I love to add a twist of something modern,’ says Copenhagen-based jewellery designer Sophie Bille Brahe. ‘My pieces are simple and clean, everything unnecessary has been cut away. I have long been fascinated with pearls; they are a classic material, a natural wonder characterised in Greek mythology as the tears of joy shed by the goddess Aphrodite.’

Ubu Tells the Truth, 1997, by William Kentridge

(Image credit: Courtesy of William Kentridge Studio)

Woman with wet slicked hair wearing a long diamond earring

(Image credit: Courtesy of William Kentridge Studio)

For her newest collection, Splash Bleu, Bille Brahe takes David Hockney’s 1967 painting, A Bigger Splash, as her inspiration. During lockdown, spent at home with her two children and dog, the jeweller found herself seduced by Hockney’s hypnotising blue sky and the casual nature of the artwork. She assimilated the easy elegance into her own work.

The patterns of the white spray caused by the painting’s unseen diver are here drawn in delicate formations of pearls: ‘They are inspired by water droplets, seemingly at random, but exquisitely clustered,’ says Bille Brahe. ‘In the “Malibu” and “Beverly” earrings, branches of pearls spill from the ear like drops of water. These pieces are complemented by the more minimalist “L’Eau” pearl styles. The real subject is the split-second moment of the splash itself: a random but nonetheless perfect moment.’

The fluid silhouettes of the pearls are sculpted into five pairs of earrings and three rings in 18ct gold with diamonds. In the ‘Splash Bleu’ earrings, oversized proportions make for statement jewellery, with branches of diamonds dangling from the earlobe. Bille Brahe’s favoured single earring pieces make a return too, with ‘Splash Royale’, ‘Splash Drop’ and ‘Petite Splash’ delicately threading pearls through the ear. In necklaces, larger lustrous pearls hang from chains or form strings around the neck in an offbeat rethinking of pearl jewellery.

Woman with wet slicked hair wearing small diamond earrings and a diamond ring

(Image credit: Courtesy of William Kentridge Studio)


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.