Luke Maninov Hammond’s designs redefine perceptions of jewellery. The award-winning Brisbane-based jeweller creates delicate pieces emulating natural and anatomical forms, inspired by scientific imagery.

Luke Maninov is the Microscopy Facility Manager at the University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute where he works with researchers studying Alzheimer’s disease, Schizophrenia, consciousness and sleep. It is his work as a neuroscientist that inspires him to craft unique jewellery pieces by night, in his West End studio. Luke’s pieces are informed by ideas in neuroscience, as well as biological and floral anatomy. The jeweller articulates a dual meaning in his work, exploring ideas of consciousness and spirituality while also considering “our scientific understanding of the microanatomy of the brain”.

While searching for a means to share his work at QBI, Luke discovered his passion for jewellery design. “I had been witnessing a gold mine of amazing images and 3D structures being generated without an avenue to be shared with the public,” he says. “I started creating jewellery and it flowed really easily — it just clicked.” Other than completing a short course at the Queensland College of Art, Luke is self-taught. The designer uses a technique called lost wax casting to translate the intricate detail and organic forms typical of his work.

Cerulean-Odyssey-central-flower---Aus-blue-sapphire-sapphires-and-topaz-silver-and-gold

An intersection between floral and neurological themes inspired Luke’s Cerulean Odyssey collection. After Luke donated proceeds from his 2015 In this unfolding exhibition to motor neuron disease (MND) research, he was commissioned by the MND Symposium to produce Cerulean Odyssey for auction, with the proceeds to be donated to MND research. The sterling silver piece was inspired by the Australian wildflower centaurea cyanus, which despite its fragile appearance is able to withstand the elements of nature. “As with the flower, people with MND show courage, dealing with the devastating changes that occur to their neurons and muscles in their bodies,” says Luke. The flower’s root system is distinctively detailed, resembling the micro-structure of neurons.

While most of us have little knowledge of microanatomy, Luke believes people find an intuitive recognition with such forms. Luke is adamant about employing his jewellery collections to inform a wider audience about neuroscience research. “Finding new avenues to directly share it with the public is really rewarding,” he says.

In his December exhibition at Fallow, Luke’s designs attracted clientele interested in unique high-end fashion and objects. Luke reconstructed neural images into accompanying artworks for the exhibition, using colour to explain particular neurological processes and structures to his audience. “The works are both an exploration in neural form and our spiritual and cognitive development as we grow and age,” he says.

Luke’s upcoming jewellery collection will be shown in As above so below, an exhibition at Graydon Gallery in New Farm from April 2 to May 1. The designer reveals his work will draw on “similarities between structures in the brain and coralline forms in the sea” to create unique structures. Luke’s work can be found online at lukemaninov.com and is stocked at Fallow and Artisan in Fortitude Valley.

Words by Evie McDonough | Images supplied by artist & portrait by Joel Devereux