Per Borup Design is a true family business, a goldsmith’s workshop that unites three generations, each representing a unique interpretation of the Scandinavian style.
By Nina Hald
There is an air of dedicated concentration in the workshop where three members of the Borup family, along with a staff of 10 goldsmiths, laboriously create magnificent collections of rings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets and brooches. Each jewel has its own unique personality.
“And if the gold in its raw material form doesn’t already embody a sense of individuality, it will slowly develop as the jewel is fashioned,” Karin Borup explains, carefully displaying some of her designs in her hands.
Following in the family footsteps
The successful family business, based in Søborg north of Copenhagen, was founded in 1987 by Per, Kell and Karin Borup. Today Per has retired from the business, although he still conjures up new designs and takes on commissions at his country home on the island of Falster. His son Kell Borup and daughter-in-law Karin Borup now run the business with help from their 24-year-old daughter, Lykke Borup, who has been with the family business before she was even born. During her pregnancy, her mother took on an apprenticeship at the family workshop and, having given birth, continued to work there after just three weeks of maternity leave – with young Lykke at her side. As Lykke grew up, she loved to help out in the business after school and around the age of 13 her girlfriends started to ask her to design earrings for them.
According to Per Borup, the idea for the family business nonetheless came from his mother.
“It was actually my mother who suggested that I become a goldsmith when I was just 14 years old. And that was, indeed, the perfect choice for me since I’ve always liked sketching,” he recalls. “Since then my family has become a part of it all.”
They all appear effortlessly elegant, but each jewellery design represents hours and hours of laborious work. Each collection embodies a unique style and there is a wide range to choose from, whether you are looking for something with a youthful edge or something more classically modern. Per Borup’s jewels are audacious, sculptural and imaginative. Karin Borup’s designs are more feminine and romantic and feature hearts and whimsical creatures, such as seahorses, frogs and fish. Kell Borup’s designs are elegantly clean-lined and abstract. Lykke Borup’s designs express a fresh, contemporary update of her father’s classically austere style.
“But unlike the others I don’t start with doing a lot of sketches. I proceed directly to fashioning jewels using wax and metals, which seems to make them emerge out of their own necessity,” Lykke Borup explains.
Borup designs are influenced by the Scandinavian style and their shared features are their contrasts of texture, such as matte, rustic, polished or burnished surfaces, and their contrast in shade, such as between white, yellow, pink and red gold. The designs draw their inspiration from the properties of the metals themselves and from the fluid shapes of nature.
“Sometimes it feels as if the ideas are born of their own free will. You go to the workshop with one idea and end up with something completely different as the result of what your hands came up with,” Kell Borup concludes.