Jewelry Designer Hanut Singh
India's greatest gift to contemporary Jewelry Design
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As owners of a product design company Thomas & I trot around this magnificent globe in search of artisans and factories that are able to collaborate and produce handmade goods that resonate with our contemporary culture using techniques that were previously only available to a few.
For years socialite and World Health Organization champion Anita Abhyankar- Bajaj has been raving about jewelry designer Hanut Singh.
Having been born in Paris, raised in Rome, schooled in England and careered in NYC now living and working in Delhi , Anita always has her finger on the pulse. I have learned to meet anyone darling Anita has suggested I meet.
It took a few years but by seamless coincidence at Malini Murjani's MM Curate pop up in NYC I saw this glowing presence with a commanding velvet voice on approach "hello my name is HANUT" and ....in the words of Celine Dion's "Its all coming back to me now" (LOL) I quickly recollected where and how his name was introduced to me and that began the friendship and admiration for his talent and art.
Although he was never formally trained, Hanut’s jewelry education truly began from the time he was a child. The designer is a descendant of the Kapurthala royal family of India who astonished the world with their style in the first half of the twentieth century. The family’s legendary treasures and discriminating taste inspired the greatest jewelry houses in the world to new heights. It also ignited Hanut’s passion to become a designer.
Being of Lebanese & Indian origins I was always exposed to the best of both worlds when it came to jewelry.
From 1944 onwards in Beirut my grandfather was the sole liaison and dealer for legendary french jeweler Boucheron dealing with 5 kings: Farouk of Egypt , King of Mehmet of Turkey, The Shah of Iran, Talal of Jordan.
I have been on the lookout as to who would emerge to take jewelry design in India to the next level with all its glorious resources.
India has the magnificence of the large stones with uncut diamonds combined with color combinations and traditional indian Mughal jewels worn by the Maharajas and high society , however , as we all know a select few of the Maharaja's took the large stones to houses like Cartier , Boucheron and alike where true artisans could go to work and produce art like no other.
Hanut himself is linked to this great practice from the old days via his great grandfather the Maharaja Jagatjit Singh (pictured below) with the Mellerio Peacock and Cartier Tiara was a great fan of french legendary houses like Boucheron and Cartier.
“We know about some of his [Singh’s] well-known pieces like the Boucheron aigrette and the Cartier tiara,” Frederick told ETPanache. “I’ve discovered that the aigrette was a piece that he didn’t just supply the stones for, but had it refashioned from a more traditional Indian jigah. And the same thing for the Cartier tiara. It was another tiara, but he wanted something spectacular for his golden jubilee [in 1927], so he turned to Jacques Cartier, who was a friend.”
Hanut walking us threw his Grandmother's Treasures
Hanut's Grandmother Maharani Sita Devi of Kapurthala Photographs by Cecil Beaton
Well my friends the time has come not to take your big stones out of India but rather TAKE YOUR STONES TO INDIA thanks to jewelry designer Hanut Singh.
We sat down with Hanut and asked him to answer a few questions from the renown Proust Questionnaire:
What is your idea of Perfect Happiness ?
Being in my home in Mussoorie with my dogs, family & closest friends
What is your greatest extravagance ?
What is the character you most like in a man?
Character of Self
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Femininity, Caring, Nurturing , Self Confidence
Which words or phrases do you most overuse ?
Which talent would you most like to have?
Legal Mind, Clear Articulate, Incisive
Hanut has garnered a following of fans from East to West with beauties with the likes indian movie star Deepika Padukone, Madonna, Beyonce, Wendy Deng Murdoch, Diane Von Furstenberg to being covered in publications Vogue, Time, L' Officiel Architectural Digest and more... all with great reason.
Oprah Winfrey in Hanut Singh Jewelry
In doing research for this article I came across my grandfather's colleague who is currently listed on Linkedin Thierry Robert Stone Purchasing Director chez Boucheron 49 years and 3 months !!
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I enjoyed reading about Hanut Singh and his amazing family legacy of style and culture. My great grandmother never left her apartment without wearing jewelry, red lipstick and a hat. And she never, ever wore pants. I thought she was the cat’s meow!