In today's dainty, layer-obsessed jewelry culture, it feels like an absolute luxury to wear a piece by London-based Hannah Martin. Weighty, substantial and statement-making, each jewel has the feel of a mini sculpture – one envisioned by the coolest girl in the room. (It's true. Hannah has that effortless-cool thing down pat. Believe us, your eyes would go straight to her at a cocktail party.) After graduating from the prestigious design school Central Saint Martins and a stint in Paris working for a Place Vendôme jewelry house, Hannah returned to London and joined forces with her business partner Nathan Morse to build a line that has an edgy, masculine feel (and even contains must-haves for men). Handmade in London, it's luxury accessories with a bit of an attitude. No wonder we're such big fans.
What's your idea of ultimate luxury?
Ultimate luxury for me is time, in all contexts. Time is the one thing we all seem to be short of in this fast-paced world we exist in. A luxury product should take time, craftsmanship and skill to make. It is the investment of time, in anything, that for me makes luxury.
Let’s have dinner at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Where do we go and what do we eat?
My local neighborhood is Clerkenwell in London, which now has a plethora of excellent places to eat. My go-to however would be St John, Smithfield. St John was one of the original restaurants here, and is consistently excellent. It prides itself on nose-to-tail eating and I would definitely order a plate of the bone marrow. It's decadent, rich and unbelievably tasty.
If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another jeweler, what would it be?
A piece by JAR – he is an unrivaled master.
What’s the best movie you saw in the last six months?
‘Head On’ - a German-Turkish film starring an amazing actor called Birol Unel.
What's your go–to cocktail?
Dirty Gin Martini – dirtier the better.
The gemstone you’re currently lusting after is . . .
There is never just one! I’m like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to stones.
What's your favorite place to holiday and why?
Anywhere that involves sun, good food and good wine.
You have 30 minutes to work out – what do you do?
What was the first piece of jewelry you bought for yourself?
I think it was a really naff dagger earring from a stall in Camden town when I was trying to recreate the ‘Lost Boys’ look.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Robert Mapplethorpe. He is one of my icons – his work is always part of my inspiration, and I would love to hear his stories. It would be a fun night.
What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own and tell us the back story.
My engagement/wedding ring. My husband proposed to me with an uncut emerald – I then had the stone cut and asked the cutter to work with the natural form of the stone, allowing the stone itself to direct the shape. I then designed my ring around it. It’s so big that it is both my engagement and wedding ring – and I love it.
Mountains, sea or city? Why?
City. I love escaping the city for a break but always yearn to be back. I love the excitement, the energy, the constant visual stimulation – I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Top 5 bands in your playlist - go!
(That is almost an impossible list to write!)
You’re having guests for the weekend. What’s your signature dish that you cook?
A selection of deliciousness from the Ottolenghi book - I love cooking lots of these Middle Eastern inspired dishes full of flavor then serving them all on our huge dining table so everyone just digs in. It is super sociable, relaxed and tasty.
Be honest – who’s your celebrity crush?!
If you could only carry one handbag for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably something from Celine – they seem to nail ‘classic with a twist’ every time.
If you could sit front row at any fashion show, which would it be and why?
Alaïa, although he doesn't necessarily do shows. Still, Alaïa every time for me.
Tell us your beauty secrets (think: can’t-live-without makeup and skincare)
Black mascara and a bright red lipstick by Chanel - I’m pretty basic when it comes to makeup and skin care but am never without these two items.
What's your spirit animal?
If you could be anything other than a jewelry designer, what would it be?
A bass player in a rock n’ roll band.
Thanks for playing, Hannah! Shop the collection HERE