Pearl Season

Published January 23, 2014

Storytelling is at the heart of Sophie Bille Brahe’s understated, innovative, and modern fine jewelry designs. “I think that the only way to bring precious metals and gemstones to life is by giving them a beautiful narrative,” she muses in her dulcet Danish accent. She credits this whimsical sensibility to her father, Bille. “His poetic outlook has been a huge influence on the way I work, I like to think that each collection acts as a window to my imagination.”

Born and raised in Copenhagen, Bille Brahe started making jewelry at school as a teenager, when her teachers encouraged her innate interest in the craft by setting up a studio space where she could create small-scale pieces. “I was fortunate that my passion was nurtured from such a young age, ” she recalls. “They understood that this was my calling in life. I didn’t choose it—it chose me.”

After high school, Bille Brahe honed her technical skills by training as a goldsmith. “I needed to make sure that there would never be any limitations on what I could create,” she explains. However, it wasn’t until her tenure at London’s prestigious Royal College of Art in 2007 that the designer really hit her creative stride. “During my Master’s degree, my confidence grew,” she says. “Danish jewelry design was quite conservative at that time, but in London there were no rules so I had the freedom to experiment.”

Upon graduating in 2009, after creating one-off showpieces for avant-garde labels Bernhard Willhelm and Stine Goya, Bille Brahe founded her eponymous jewelry label. “My aim was to create jewelry that was original, contemporary, and luxurious, but not a status symbol,” she says. 

Looking at her signature pieces—the linear “Croissant de Lune” earrings that caress the curvature of the ear; the slick  “Double de Lune” knuckle-duster ring—it’s obvious why her distinctive aesthetic is causing a buzz. “The women that wear my jewelry are free-spirited and sophisticated,” she observes. Undoubtedly, this sentiment applies to her A-list clientele, too. “I felt especially proud when Madonna wore my ‘Double de Lune’ ring,” she says.

This season is all about pearls. “When I gave birth to my son Johan 10 months ago, my mother gave me a pearl collar necklace,” explains Bille Brahe. “I suddenly felt I had an emotional connection with pearls and wanted to use them in my work,” she adds. True to form, she gave the bijoux bauble a fairytale twist. “I imagined them as stars forming constellations in sky.” From the petite gold phalanx rings to the angular pearl bracelets and edgy, bar earrings, there’s no doubt that her latest offering will be as sought after as her last for stores such as Dover Street Market Ginza and Italy’s Luisa via Roma.

Today, though her star continues to rise, she eschews the idea of expanding the label. “It takes time to grow. Right now, I just feel privileged to keep doing what I truly love.”  

FOR MORE ON SOPHIE BILLE BRAHE, VISIT HER WEBSITE.