Hum jewelry is designed by Tomohiro Sadakiyo and Yuka Inanuma, artisans and designers who appreciate Japanese artisanal techniques, material culture and the powers of adornments in equal measure. Comprised of 18-karat white and yellow gold and set with champagne or colorless diamonds, Hum jewels often combine 18-karat white and yellow gold in the same piece. These contrasting precious metals imbue Hum designs with an understated aura of luxury that whispers chic confidence. As Sadakiyo and Inanuma explained, “We design our jewelry for individuals who, like us, wish to master their own paths and implement their desires creatively.” A quick survey of their designs suggests that Hum is indeed a leader in gender-fluid luxury jewels with great design and emotional depth. For those who want to experience their jewels in their native environment, HUM’s Tokyo atelier and boutique is located at 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Jingumae, 2 Chome−31−7 ビラ・グロリア 1F.
Sadakiyo and Inanuma started Hum by developing tools they could use to create jewels that embody their shared visions of substance, style and master artisanship. By creating and using tools and processes that support experimental metalworking techniques, Sadakiyo and Inanuma explained, “We imprint metal with uniquely artistic surface textures and apply special finishes.” In the eyes of Hum collectors and retailers like objetdemotion.com, “Hum is valued for its design rarity, artisanal integrity, technical excellence and of course, material and visual beauty,” said Valery Demure, founder and curator of objetdemotion.com. “For those who understand style, jewelry design and fabrication, it’s immediately apparent that Hum jewels are born through creative exploration and artisanal innovation, as opposed to luxury marketing strategies.”
According to Sadakiyo and Inanuma, “What truly captivates us is the desire to manipulate metal freely to express our vision. Our initial fascination was with craft processes, as opposed to design, owing to our background as artisans.” The duo’s initial research involved the making of Hum jewelry, along with wide-ranging discussions about how to express universal myths, symbols and concepts in elegant designs.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, Sadakiyo and Inanuma are rather more philosophical than most luxury jewelers. What’s more, anthropologists like Claude Lévi-Strauss and notions of Eternity are driving forces behind their creations. (Lévi-Strauss theorized that universal laws must govern mythical thought, and thus this explains why similar myths animate so many of the world’s disparate cultures. While each myth may seem unique to the people who invent it, Lévi-Strauss asserted that any one myth merely represents one particular instance of the universal law of human thought.) “We have a keen interest in the structures and patterns postulated by Claude Lévi-Strauss,” Sadakiyo and Inanuma said. While they are creating collections, however, “We also delve into fine art, performing arts, music and fashion. Micro meets macro, theory meets body.”
Toward that end, Sadakiyo and Inanuma created a collection they named “Humete”. As they explained, “Humete is a word we created and this collection embodies ‘Eternity’ as conceived by Hum.” While they admit that, “The concept of ‘Eternity’ may not exist or be provable, but we thought that we could design motifs that symbolically capture this abstract idea.” The Humete collection, they continued, involves hand-wrought chains, as links in a chain can symbolize Eternity. “Chains have existed since ancient times, used for decorative and functional purposes,” they observed. “We set several conditions when designing a new chain that would immediately be recognizable as Hum jewelry, made entirely by hand, without advanced technology,” they said. “We designed the clasps to secure the connection without breaking the visual continuity.” The overall visual effect is one of restrained luxury that looks simultaneously timeless and ancient, gender-fluid, classic and quietly chic. Voilà: jewelry to wear and hand down through Eternity.
Another example of Hum’s luxurious conceptual jewelry comes in the form of their “Art Deco Lace” collection, which began with the duo’s interest in Art Deco design, which became fashionable about a century ago as the world became more highly industrialized. “We were curious about how the shift from Art Nouveau to Art Deco reflected societal changes, including the economic and cultural shift from Europe to the United States; the transition from small-scale and bespoke production to mass production.”
Noting that 2023’s economic and cultural conditions are geared towards making and consuming global, standardized and evermore digitized products, Sadakiyo and Inanuma explained, “Visually, we were inspired by Art Deco, but instead of embracing the anonymity of standardized production we took a more sensitive approach.” Focused on creating maximum material and visual beauty, “We treat each jewel individually, producing them by hand, using conflict-free diamonds and fusing recycled precious metals. Each design element celebrates the craftsman’s touch.” While they admitted they don’t know which path our society is taking, they ventured, “We imagine in 100 years, that our collection might capture this pivotal moment in time.”
Sadakiyo and Inanuma and their artisans work in a traditional atelier that’s located in central Tokyo, surrounded by independent shops and family-run restaurants. They noted that, “Our studio houses eight artisans who craft Hum jewelry. Everything is produced in house.” As soon as the duo creates a new concept for a collection and elementary design parameters are determined, Hum artisans begin to create samples in silver or copper. “Our designers work closely with the artisans, examining each sample in detail for ease of wear, balance, look and feel,” they said. “We and our artisans work until we are satisfied.”
Although Hum is a relatively young luxury jewelry company, its creations suit the present yet also look like they belong to the future. Hum’s time-traveling style sensibility, philosophical depth and intrinsic classicism differentiates it from all other brands. As Sadakiyo and Inanuma noted, “Whether it’s years or days later, we would be pleased if our pieces could serve as catalysts, sparking beautiful memories for those who wear them.” Although designed for the here and now, Hum designs, especially the Humete and Art Deco Lace collections, literally embody nostalgia while preparing to be worn by humans for Eternity.
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