In conversation with jeweller Hanut Singh on the brink of his new show in Mumbai

The Delhi-based artist draws on his ancestral heritage and personal experiences to create state-of-the-art pieces of jewellery.

Harper's Bazaar India

This week, Hanut Singh’s jewellery marks its showing in Mumbai, at Soho House on September 2. Co-hosted by one of the leading voices of fashion in the country, Anaita Shroff Adajania and co-founders of the Living Room Story India, Sanaa Choksi and Ashmi Bhansali, the show will have some of his seasonless pieces on display; a rare sighting for this city. 

The grandson of the great Maharaj Kumar Karamjit Singh of Kapurthala, Singh exudes style, wit, and elegance—characteristic of his royal family. His legacy brand is spotted on everyone—from Beyoncé, Madonna, Christian Louboutin, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Wendi Deng Murdoch, to Diane von Furstenberg, Paris Hilton, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Rihanna, Cher, and Nicole Kidman among others. 

Hanut Singh

Singh's newest show is not limited to a single collection but is a coming together of his growing work, his inspiration, and his moving from expressing emotions to channeling creative energies. The pieces are his personal talismans. 

In this exclusive interview with Harper’s Bazaar India, Singh talks about his artistic style, inspiration, lineage, and business. 

Sonal Ved (SV): From Princess Karam to Maharaja Jagatjit Singh—the Kapurthala royal family were style icons of their own time. Tell us about how your family and their fashion sensibilities influenced you growing up?

Hanut Singh (HS): I was very blessed to have such chic grandparents and great-grandparents, from both sides of the family. As far as fashion sensibility goes, they didn’t influence me per say, but their way of living, being, manners, and intrinsic elegance, internal and externally influenced all of us. It was not only in their sartorial deportment but everyday actions and being that osmotically influenced everybody. 

SV: You’ve often described your jewellery as a combination of the classicism of the art deco period with contemporary designs. What has been your vision for the jewellery you design and how has it evolved?

HS: The vision for my jewellery is constantly evolving. My work has a hint of the past, but is very much rooted in the present and the future. It’s always linear, sort of architectural. It has movement and it flows. I always pay great homage to the stones I’m working with. Never overcrowd a large stone. If I’m doing pave work, there is always harmony in my work and  an integrity that defines my work for me, that’s always been my vision for the jewellery I design. 

SV: Take us through your passion of collecting artefacts and inherited items and how these have been a source of inspiration for you?

HS:I love collecting beautiful things. My home is my sanctuary—it is the fullest expression of who I am. I think the eye has to see beauty all around. It's definitely a passion of mine and everything inspires me, whether it’s a rock crystal shell, a large shell, or a beautiful John Darrian plate. I love collecting things, and luckily for me it gives me a deep sense of passion and joy, whether it’s painting, objects, artifacts, or even books. I love filling my home with beautiful things. The eye and mind always have to travel. It allows you to see beauty in all forms and shapes, and that influences one.

SV: How much of your jewellery is a reflection of your own personal style and experiences? What inspired certain favourites such as the ruby and diamond sword or the ruby and rock crystal pagoda?

Hanut Singh

HS: My jewellery is definitely a reflection of my personal style and experiences. I don’t have a team of designers, I do it all on my own. So, anything about me, my life, my ancestry, my work, my travel, my dog, my homes, my music—it  all informs the work I do. It holistically permeates down into the jewellery I make. I’m always inspired by my swords, they are a talisman of protection. I have taken inspiration from the daggers and swords of every era  and distilled it in the way that I have wanted to and it’s become a classic of mine, which I love. I love talismanic things. It’s all about the energy. Whether it’s the surreal eyes for totems, or really large and chunky stones for the neck, it all reverberates. Nature is my highest inspiration and everything that comes with nature.