When we first started thinking about our Spring story, all we knew was that we wanted to work with our close friend and jewelry designer, Hanut Singh. Our story’s title felt completely apropos. Yes — because he’s a jewelry designer — but mostly because his gorgeous designs and sublime environments are exactly what we picture when we conjure up images of Romancing the Stone. A peek into his world unveils a contextually rich universe, full of originality. His discerning style is immediately evident with one glance at his creations, but to fully understand the depth of Hanut’s world, one must step back and consider his talents in holistic context.
Hanut’s jewelry education began in childhood as a descendant of the Kapurthala royal family of India who astonished the world with their style in the first half of the twentieth century. His grandmother Princess Karam — a celebrated beauty photographed by Cecil Beaton and dressed by Mainbocher — was never without custom pieces made for her by Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier. The family’s legendary treasures and discriminating taste inspired the greatest jewelry houses in the world to new heights. They also ignited Hanut’s passion to become a designer.
But heritage and pedigree are only part of Hanut’s magic formula. It’s his discerning eye and unconventionally creative mind that push boundaries beyond tradition and keep him divergently ahead of the curve. His affinity for Deco designs and seventies glam are reimagined through his ever-evolving lens, which is kept fresh by his keen interest in pop culture, music, and literature. He keeps his mind open to new ideas, but his circles tight. His approach to life and design is nuanced and layered with subtext. His witty conversation and demeanor carry an edge that slices through the superfluous, while maintaining respect and loyalty when deserved. He is an embodiment of his design process, which strips away the fuss and filigree of the traditional, and births them into modernity through reimagined silhouettes, unique stone pairings, and unexpected color combinations.
Hanut graciously gave us peek into his private domain and answered some questions which allowed us to better understand his psyche, as well as the inspirations that drive his creativity.
Decor Details from Hanut’s Home in New Delhi
Green, ‘Campari’ red and crimson.
Old mine diamonds, emeralds and rock crystals.
Gardenias, magnolias and peonies.
Have many, but most used unfortunately is ‘fuck’!
Least favorite word?
Don’t have any.
Favorite artists and/or photographers? Latest finds?
I am a sucker for the impressionists, as well as this legendary Indian artist called Amrita Shergill. I am particularly drawn to photography…Christopher Beane is a new find!
Favorite jewelry designers? A piece, collection or period that resonates most.
I love many different jewellery designers for various attributes. I especially am drawn to vintage pieces from the 1920’s and 30’s. As for the modern, I am in awe of JAR, Taffin, Ted Meuhling, Gabriella Kiss and Viren Bhagat. I also love Italian jewellery in gold from the 70’s…I love that period of design.
Top style muses / icons?
My grandmother; DVF for her impeccable taste in jewels and the flair that she wears them with; Madonna for that intoxicating chameleon like ability to morph yet remaining so true to herself – looks for ages; and Marlene Deitrich…another spectacular style icon.
Favorite author or poet?
Too many to mention…run the gamut from classical literature to modern authors.
Last book you read.
AA Gill’s travel writings- superb superb superb.
Favorite singer(s)? Top three.
Madonna, Kristine W, Tina Turner, George Michael, Alice Smith…can’t contain it to three voices only.
Three cities that inspire you most?
New York, Rome, and the state of Rajasthan in India.
Top three museums?
MET, Louvre and Tate.
Top three guilty pleasures?
Food, lazing and early nights.
Hanut’s Jewelry Sketches
Aside from the present time, what era or period would you like to live in?
The 30’s or the 70’s.
“If I were not designing jewelry, I would be _______.”
…an architect, perhaps?
“The most creative time of day for me is _______.”
…morning morning morning. Or if I am slightly inebriated, I am flooded with creativity!
“A ritual that I can’t do without (or keeps me grounded) is ____________.”
…practicality…being around family.
“I am most free when I am ________.”
If you could only keep three items from your home, what would they be?
The religious pieces of artifacts passed down to me, my own personal jewellery, and a book of indian prayers handwritten by my grandmother in Sanskrit.
In your ‘lifetime’ playlist, which 3-5 songs have you listened to most throughout your life?
Oh god!!! I listen to a lot of house music of which I have reams and reams of…always energizes and inspires me…the soundtrack of my life.
‘The quality I admire most in people is _______.”
…compassion and humour.
‘Quality I detest most is _______.”
“To me, style is ________.”
…being uniquely yourself with lashes of self confidence.
“I find inspiration in __________.”
…a million ways…just keep your eye and your mind’s eye open.
“To me, happiness is ________.”
…coming home to my dogs.
All carousel illustrations by the amazingly talented Tim Nguyen (@t_nguyen_t).
‘Ice’ Rock Crystal Necklace$10,900
Narcotic Jasmine Earrings$8,740
‘Ninotchka’ Amulet Necklace$7,400
Carved Leaf Earrings$7,260
Talismanic Mala Necklace$7,700
‘The Roar’ Tiger’s Claw Necklace$8,280
‘Shot Through the Heart’ Arrow Earrings$7,040
‘Pretty Please’ Drop Earrings$9,680