DNA meets design in the work of jewellery ace Hanut Singh, who unveils his collection in the city today

Hanut Singh’s work reflects an interesting mix of influences. His designs echo the richness of his royal lineage, at the same time bear the stamp of simplicity that’s quintessential to illustrious jewellery labels in the West. By combining unimaginable colours and stones, this New Delhi-based designer lends his creations a touch of whimsy that’s so today in its appeal.

As someone born into luxury, this grandson of the late Maharaj Kumar Karamjit Singh of Kapurthala was naturally drawn to design at an early age, thanks to the family’s collection of jewellery that included heirloom ornaments and prized pieces from world-renowned Cartier, and Van Cleef and Arpels. “I have always been creative. I spent my early years in the Doon School. Later, I left for New York, and it is there that I really blossomed. New York is a magical, brilliant muse,” says the designer who is showcasing his works in Chennai, at Evoluzione, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, on September 14 and 15.

Singh, who is known for his unusual skill with stones, reveals that his collection for Chennai comprises pieces from his entire repertoire. “Basically, I do a lot of earrings. This collection reflects a range of tones, moods and vibes.”

Spurred by the shape, size and shade of stones, both precious and semi-precious, Singh designs pieces that are eclectic in flavour. “Stones are paramount to each piece I create. The design process can vary. Most often, I come across a stone, fall in love with it and create a design around it. But sometimes, I imagine a pattern and get the stones to work within those parameters.”

What’s surprising about Singh’s work is that though stones play a pivotal role in his creations, they don’t suffer from visual excesses.

Talking about his DNA-meets-individualistic design aesthetic, Singh says, “My work and my influences are diverse. They reflect who I am. I have been privy to the work of the great masters of the jewellery world, up close and personal. Their settings, stones, ideas and stories have left an indelible impact on my mind. This exposure integrated itself into my thought process and has now become part of my aesthetic lexicon.”

Organic and handcrafted are two words that find repetitive mention in Singh’s design vocabulary. When asked about the luxury of using hand skill, the designer says, “That’s what gives the jewellery a different feel. Each piece is handmade. My designs and my interests lean more towards organic shapes and the fluidity of motion. I work only with gold. As for natural stones, I’m always in love with them. For various reasons, stones have a captivating effect on people. Since I work with different types of stones, it’s difficult to pick out a favourite. I love rose cut old mine diamonds. I don’t follow trends. To me, jewellery is about timelessness.”

Talk about his star-studded clientele and how they’ve gravitated to his stone-encrusted jewellery, and Singh says, “I feel blessed. The biggest compliment is when they come back to me for more. I hear siblings fight among themselves to wear my creations. Many celebrities in the West chose my designs for their red carpet moments. But I’m truly thrilled when they wear my jewellery to their personal dos. It goes to show there’s an emotional connect. Isn’t that what a designer wants?”

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Krithika ReddyMay 11, 2012