17 December 2019

Conscious adornment: Luke Maninov Hammond is a neuroscientist and jeweller

Luke Maninov Hammond is a contemporary jewellery maker and neuroscience imaging specialist. From these two seemingly disparate fields of specialisation, Luke has built a unique and distinctive jewellery making practice that has earned him a cult following among Pieces Of Eight’s discerning clientele.

We recently caught up with Luke in New York, where he lives and works, to hear more about the intersection between science and adornment.


PO8: Tell us about your work in neuroscience at the Columbia University Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute?

LMH: My specialty is in biomedical imaging and analysis, primarily in neuroscience. Imaging is a major element driving discovery in neuroscience, so I’ve been collaborating with a diverse range of research groups to image the brain, and develop software to reconstruct, analyse, and visualise the increasingly complex images we capture.


PO8: How does neuroscience inform your jewellery designs?

LMH: I’m really interested in exploring ideas of consciousness, and the hidden worlds within us, on a more conceptual level using jewellery as a medium. I was drawn into imaging because of the amazingly beautiful, and otherwise invisible, worlds it is allows us to see.

There are pieces I design where motifs are informed by the intricate and branched forms of cells within the brain, but I primarily use these to encourage reflection on what lies within. 

While the disciplines can seem divergent, I’m always learning things that inform and overlap. A great example is that both practices involve training your mind to see what is right in front of you, not what you imagine to be there.



PO8: How does life in New York feed your creative practice?

LMH: New York City is a great place to be if you want to work hard and grow. There is something about being in the proximity of such a concentration of brilliant and motivated people, it can be restless and intense at times, but it changes your vision. It’s been close to three years, and I feel like the art, science, and ideas I’ve been exposed to here are starting to coalesce. I’m coming out of a period of re-evaluating the work I want to create, and I’m looking forward to sharing this new work with Pieces of Eight.



PO8: What have you been working on lately?

LMH: I’ve been working to create more intricate pieces by combining digital design with the traditional methods I use, like wax carving. This allows me to keep the creativity and flow of working with my hands, but facilitates the more precise work necessary for some very fine structures and some settings.

I’ve also been learning traditional design techniques, like gouache watercolour, which has been changing the way I think of designs – from mostly conceptual to clearer visual imagery. I’m new to painting so it’s been a surprising change in how my mind works. 

Love Luke's work? We think you'll enjoy this story about the motifs behind Emma Homfray's sculptural pieces.


Images from top:

Surfacing Wedding ring in 18ct yellow gold with white and salt and pepper diamonds; high resolution images of sensory neurons involved in the perception of pain, imaged using fluorescence microscopy (in collaboration with Grace Shin and the Grueber Lab, Columbia University); Surfacing Garnet stud earrings in 14ct yellow gold with rhodolite garnets, Surfacing Engagement ring in 18ct yellow gold with parti sapphire; colour rendering of commissioned rings; courtesy of the artist.