All the right angles: geometric jewels informed by Hong Kong urban life
Sophie-Birgitt Debuf founded her eponymous jewellery brand in 2014. Since then, the Belgian-born, Hong Kong-based designer has carefully honed her geometric aesthetic. ‘When I started, I walked all over Hong Kong with my sketchbook, just looking and drawing the skyline, seeing patterns in everything,’ she reminisces. ‘In those skyscrapers, I saw beauty in the ugliness.’
Now she has launched 'Angles', a debut collection of rings and earrings in cubic, rhomboid and parallelogram forms. There’s a three-dimensional aspect too, with hinged pieces that are designed to be layered or to be worn on their own. Sophie-Birgitt pieces are made in her Hong Kong atelier, using 18-carat gold and diamonds ranging from champagne to cognac. Green, yellow and grey diamonds and blue sapphires are also offered for private commissions.
Left, 'Kinetic' earrings in 18-carat blackened gold and white gold with hand set pavé diamonds. Right, 'Sunrise at Midnight' earrings in 18-carat blackened gold and white gold with hand set pavé diamonds
Debuf has formerly called Rome, Paris and Ho Chi Minh City her home, and used to commute between Myanmar and Hong Kong, where she worked in private equity before deciding to develop her natural interest in jewellery. ‘What started as an interest turned into a hobby, and my passion is now my job,’ she confirms. Having taken private lessons in goldsmithery from a Central Saint Martins graduate, Debuf learned the trade at the bench. ‘The contrast between the worlds of banking and design sparked my determination to do what I want to do.’
‘My pieces are not traditional,’ Debuf says of her concrete-jungle-inspired pieces. 'The strong, geometric aesthetic can sometimes daunt people, but once they try on the jewels, they are surprised at how ergonomic they are.'