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Challenging Conventions - Hannah Martin London
Designs that defies traditions and are androgynous are the flavour of the season. One designer who is known for this style is Hannah Martin. Priyanka Desai speaks to her and decodes her design ethos.
By: Diamond World News Service
Aug 4 2015 7:10PM
Reference: 11769  

A great piece of jewellery is more than just an accessory or adornment. It is an extension of the wearer’s personality. It has the power of adding an edge or a sweet softness to the wearer’s persona. It is very rare to come across such type of jewellery that without being overbearing adds a new dimension to the personality. One of the brands that have achieved this feat is Hannah Martin London. The partner and principal designer of this brand is Hannah Martin. Known for her chic personal style that is rock-n-roll yet suave, one can see these influences in her designs, too.

How did this rock chic girl become a famous jewellery designer, was our first question to her. “It is strange, but I never imagined myself as a jewellery designer as I grew up. However, from a very young age, I knew I wanted to go to Art School – and always believed I would become a sculptor. I came to London when I was 17 as I had acquired a place at the prestigious Central St Martins School of Art. It was here, during what is known as a ‘Foundation Year’ that I had my first experience of designing and making jewellery. And I fell in love! It seemed to me the perfect combination of my love of sculpture and craftsmanship but also the practicality and problem solving that is needed to be a goodjewellery designer, attracted me to it. I went on to study a degree in Jewellery Design at Central St Martins. My experience and education helped inmoulding me into the designer that I have become today.”

We asked her if her family supported her decision of pursuing jewellery design. To this she says, “My family has always been a huge support to me ever since I was a child – allowing me to follow my dreams whilst always being there to help me up if I fall. They continue to do this to this day and I would not be where I am now without them.”

When quizzed about her sources of inspiration, she quips, “Inspirations come from every direction for me – whether it is art, architecture, film, photography or maybe a live concert or performance. I am constantly looking and taking things in, analysing them and storing them somewhere in my brain (or in my studio) for use at a later date. I love large, monumental sculptural structures – in either architecture, or in art, but I also love the tiny details you find in daily life walking around London. So really, it is a mixture of everything, my life, my interests, my passions – whatever that may be at the time.”

The brand is coming into their 10th anniversary– which is a huge achievement in itself. Being an independent luxury jewellery brand, in a world that is dominated by large conglomerates with enormous budgets is a tough path to choose. But Hannah and her business partner have always had very strong beliefs in the design, the brand as a whole and the way they work with their clients – has been adhered to, and it has paid off.

One of her collections was a talk of the week in our office and we had to know more about it from the horse’s mouth. We asked Hannah to tell us about her latest collection that is all about diamonds. “The latest collection I designed for the brand is a collection called ‘White Heat’. It is a capsule collection of rings – and this is the first time that we, as a brand, have launched a collection focused on white diamonds. My concept for the collection developed as I started to re-imagine who a diamond-wearer was – and move away from the conventional image of white diamonds. Large diamonds are conventionally seen as a ‘classic' in jewellery, with the focus on the stones and the design of the piece following behind the stone as a subtle background.I wanted to challenge this convention, and give white diamonds a new sense of thrill and excitement.Diamonds are a stone that invokes passion, fire and desire. For me there is a sense of thrill, of deep want and need - the woman who wears these stones, who craves these stones is wild and untamed. She has a fire burning within her and a thirst for finding the ultimate thrill, for satisfying her wildest desire,” she explains passionately.

“The shapes of the rings are designed to invoke this sense of spirit. They have strength, and sculptural form. The designs don't hide behind the diamonds, they worship them. They bathe in their white heat. They are a statement in themselves,” she further adds.

One look at her jewellery designs and you know that the sculptural value of these pieces is extremely high. Thus, we were eager to know if she uses any specific technique to achieve this look. “We use both ancient and super modern techniques to make our pieces. I love the idea that you can mix incredible technology such as 3D scanning and 3D printing, with techniques such as lost-wax casting and stone setting that have been used for centuries. Many of the pieces I design challenge the normal conventions of jewellery – so techniques have to be adapted to make them work – setting stones on the inside of rings, balancing structures that look as if they should not work – so each piece is an experimentation on how far we can push the capabilities of the craft and the metal,” she answers our question.

Talking more about sculptural value and characteristic of design, she informs us about the most difficult piece she has created where sculpturing played the biggest part. “One of the most difficult was the ‘Delirium Emerald Trance Amulet’ from a recent collection ‘Delirium’. This piece was incredibly sculptural, with many different sculpted facets of yellow gold. This was then combined with variegated basse-taille enamel and set with an important emerald, that we had especially cut into a hexagonal shape. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least.”

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