Are you guys familiar with jewelry designer Hassan Bounkit? He's a famed jewelry designer known for his elegant and exotic pieces loved by celebrities.
Every year, he produces three new collections. He mixes sunset hues, woods, turquoise and crystal beads for bold statement pieces. Many of his collections have been instant winners among celebrities including Oprah, Salma Hayek and Liv Tyler. He has been featured in Vogue, Elle, Allure, Town & Country, O Magazine, and his pieces have been seen on “Gossip Girl” and “The Today Show.”
Bounkit was in Houston today and yesterday showcasing his jewels at Tootsies Boutique. He graciously made time to show me his pieces & let me interview him.
Me: Tell us about your background. When did you become interested in jewelry? Did you always know you wanted to be a jewelry designer?
"I grew up in Morocco until I was 21. I then moved to Florence, Italy to study fashion, and after that I worked for couture houses Ferraegamo and Marella Ferrera. In 1989, I moved to New York and studied at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and assisted Nicole Miller. I've always been drawn to jewelry, and became particularly interested when I took pictures of jewelry for designer Iradj Moini. I made the decision to launch my own line in 2006. I did a few pieces and a Chicago boutique took a liking to them and bought them. Things really took off when Oprah's assistant found the jewels and really loved them. Now, Oprah purchases a lot of pieces from me. I sometimes watch Oprah on TV and am delighted to see she is sporting my earrings that day!"
Me: Wow! Your jewelry on Oprah. That must feel very special. You have also garnered a lot of attention from fashion magazines, and I read that some of your pieces have been featured on Gossip Girl.
"Yes, they love my jewelry! You will also see a lot of statement necklaces in this coming season. It's very exciting."
Would you say that the high society girl we see on Gossip Girl is the type of woman you envision when you design jewelry? What type of woman loves Bounkit jewels?
"Since many of my materials are inspired by nature, I'd say my jewelry is designed for a woman who appreciates natural stones. A well-traveled woman, who isn't afraid to make a statement. That's who I picture wearing my jewelry."
Speaking of inspiration, what inspires you and your work?
"Growing up in Morocco, my deep love of nature, and my travels inspire my work. I use many different natural materials when constructing my pieces, including sea shells, woods, and organically cut colored stones."
What does a typical day look like for you? Is it always glamorous trunk shows?
"Not at all! Most days I'm overseeing production and designing the cut of my jewels. Every piece is made in the U.S. and made to order. We also do made to order jewelry for brides and bridal parties as well. I do host trunk shows and make appearances from time to time. "
Here are a few of my favorite pieces from his collections:
Keshi Peacock Pearl Necklace/Tanzanite and Ruby Cocktail Ring/White Topaz Cuff/Moonstone and Blue Topaz Earrings/ Moonstone, Clear Quartz and Mother of Pearl Sea Shell Cuff
You can go view his entire collection here. A big thank you to Hassan, for your time and showing me your pieces!