Don’t Miss David Hockney (Or These Aquamarine “Swimming Pools”)

This weekend’s your last chance to see David Hockney, a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which gathers the British artist’s masterworks from the 1960s to the present. The exhibit, which coincides with Hockney’s 80th birthday, is a must-see for members of the jewelry community who love, and are inspired by, color.

A completely mesmerizing palette of jewel tones awaits, led by exceptionally vibrant splashes of every imaginable shade of blue and green. Think shimmering lapis, nearly neon Paraiba, and the magical, crystalline lagoon blue of the finest aquamarines.

David Hockney Exhibit A Bigger Splash Hockney T03254 H Tate8x8A Bigger Splash by David Hockney, acrylic on canvas, 1967 (© David Hockney; photo: ©Tate, London 2017)

Hockney is best known for his luminous depictions of Southern California swimming pools and backyards in the mid-1960s and early 1970s. The interiors and landscapes are compelling—only Hockney can make sprinklers on a lawn, or porcelain tea things set out on a table, look so absurdly lush and evocative—but you will leave with a sense that Hockney’s swimming pools are the superstars of his oeuvre.

David Hockney Exhibit Portrait of an Artist Pool with Two FiguresPortrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) by David Hockney, acrylic on canvas, 1972 (© David Hockney; photo: Art Gallery of New South Wales /Jenni Carter)

There’s something glamorous about them, but also unsettling. They will make you think of that Mad Men episode when Don goes to Palm Springs, so many Slim Aarons photographs, and the Malibu beach house with wraparound picture windows you saw that time on but decided was too big for what you needed.

Your heart will ache a little. And, like me, you may leave the exhibit thinking about aquamarines—all types, but especially those that are sometimes called “swimming pool blue” in the trade.

Below, 12 aquamarine jewels that run the gamut of shades (and budgets). Jump in!

Adam Foster Aquamarine BraceletConstellation Cuff Bracelet with 17.29 cts. t.w. aquamarines, and moonstone and diamond accents, in 18k yellow gold, $38,450; Adam Foster

Featherstone Design Aqua EarringsEarrings with 16.49 cts. t.w. aquamarine drops, 4 cts. t.w. blue tourmaline posts, and 2.45 cts. t.w. diamonds in platinum, price upon request; Featherstone Design

Ileana Makri Aquamarine Ear PinAquamarine Ear Pin in 18k yellow gold, $490; Ileana Makri

Sylva and Cie Aquamarine RingRing with 30.95 ct. aquamarine center stone and 0.85 ct. t.w. diamond accents, $16,375; Sylva & Cie

Robert Procop Aquamarine Parisian BraceletParisian Bracelet with 59.62 cts. t.w. aquamarines and 3.31 cts. t.w. diamonds in platinum, price upon request; Robert Procop

Dallas Prince 18K TESORO Santa Maria Aquamarine Ring Tesoro Collection Ring with Santa Maria aquamarine and diamonds in 18k white and rose gold, price upon request; Dallas Prince Designs

JOON HAN Aquamarine Cabochons with Diamonds EarringsTranslucent Aquamarine Drop Earrings with diamond accents in 18k yellow gold, $8,350; Joon Han

 Sofia Kaman vintage victorian aquamarine boho ringAquarius Rising Victorian Ring with an oval aquamarine in 10k rose gold, $1,035; Sofia Kaman

Suzy Landa Aquamarine Earrings

Earrings with 0.90 ct. t.w. deep blue aquamarines and 0.30 ct. t.w. diamonds in 18k rose gold, $3,740; Suzy Landa

Sonia Tonkin Aquamarine RingsRing with rough-cut aquamarine, diamonds, and blue sapphire, $1,489; Sonia Tonkin

Pamela Huizenga Aquamarine Drop EarringsDrop Earrings with 74.32 cts. t.w. aquamarines and pavé diamonds in 18k yellow gold, price upon request; Pamela Huizenga

CFD Aquamarine Ring Stack

Assorted translucent aquamarine rings set in sterling silver, from $125 each; CFD Fine Jewelry


(Top image: Pool and Steps, Le Nid du Duc by David Hockney, acrylic on canvas, 1971, © David Hockney; Private collection)


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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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