A steady stream of light reaches into Hannah Jewett’s home studio—it makes the silver chains suspended on the wall, the geometric shapes stacked in clear bins, and the panels of lucite in various compositions, gleam. It’s a minimal space, but all of the objects within it are striking and confident. Jewett describes herself as an accessories, clothing, and lifestyle designer that just left her full time job to keep up with the jewelry orders that have been pouring in on Instagram. Recently, Refinery 29 praised her hoodies for replacing the traditional drawstring with beaming silver chains and shapes (and yes, you can easily unclip the chains, so it is washer friendly).
Although she has a clear eye for jewelry, she didn’t practice or study that skill formally. She moved from Santa Barbara to San Francisco to cultivate her skills in painting and drawing. But over time, her interests became three dimensional, and in her last year she gravitated toward jewelry. After graduating from college, she migrated to New York, where she ended up working for an architectural model making studio in the garment district. At lunch, she would scour the area for materials, and at night she used the laser cutter to create shapes from acrylic and lucite scraps.
In 2014, she partnered with Nikki Mirsaied to create the brand Mir Ett. Their collections were beyond the scope of necklaces and bracelets. As they explained in their mission statement, it was “A platform to conceptualize object-based designs.” One of their signature pieces was a beautiful set of hand weights cast from brass and resin. The wearable accessories include clear cables gathered with a large silver magnet, and bracelets that form the slim outline of a cage. The materials are more modest then their looks might suggest. “We’d go to like Bed Bath and Beyond and like the Container Store and buy materials, instead of going to actual jewelry stores,” Hannah told me. Quickly, the collections found critical acclaim and are now for sale in the Naguchi Muesum and Brooklyn Museum. In 2017, Hannah has taken that aesthetic and created a line of necklaces, keychains, hoodies, and magnets. She just launched a stunning collection on her new website, but Hannah says she’s “Just another BFA in the world trying to figure it out.”
Did you go to school knowing you wanted to study jewelry design?
I did visual art, in a broad sort of scope. In California, at CCA. I went in not really knowing what I wanted to do. I had a background in drawing and painting and stuff. So I kind of did that combined with sculpture, some film stuff here and there. But when I was working in film it was mostly set design focus or object focused. I was always interested in that aspect of it.
I didn’t really even get into jewelry until the end of my time at school. I just sort of took that and ran with it. It’s been 5 years or so. I had a little less than a year before I moved here. Just another BFA in the world trying to figure it out. What do I do now? In San Francisco there is way less opportunities for jobs in the arts and the creative industry. And the city was changing so much, like right when I graduated all of my friends and classmates were either moving to LA or NY. So I just kind of followed the crowd, and I’ve kind of always wanted to live here too, so it worked out. It was just an open window.
We’d go to like Bed Bath and Beyond
and like the Container Store and buy materials,
instead of going to actual jewelry stores