If there’s anything more than the gems or metals in our jewelry that we should care about, it’s how they are made. In a world where almost everything can be done in a few seconds by smart machines, we get to appreciate creations by hand—things that were done with effort, sweat and real creativity.
When it comes to the best quality handmade jewelry, we can always count on John Hardy, a brand that has been doing it for more than 40 years now. What’s more interesting about them is that they use unusual and rare stones that give a lot of character to each jewelry piece. There’s more to love about them, so read on.
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What’s all the fuss about
Transparency, authenticity, diversity, and accountability. These are the core values of John Hardy that directs the brand’s steps in ensuring that every piece released with the name of the label on it is unlike others. The unique designs of the brand’s bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings and other accessories gets inspiration from the landscapes and the people of Bali. Through their traditional jewelry-making technique, the inspirations become beautiful pieces decorated with ethereal gemstones.
The Asian-inspired brand also has its main manufacturing studio in Asia, specifically in Bali. It keeps its production “low impact”, so that it doesn’t affect the environment destructively, like many huge corporations do. Likewise, the all-handmade pieces of the brand make use of reclaimed gold and silver only, a proof of John Hardy’s dedication to be environment-friendly.
Unique engravings, gemstone settings, and sculptures are expected for every jewelry from the brand. Part of its popular line, the complete Cinta jewelry package, is an outline of the mystical representations and properties of the gemstones used, as well as the entire process of creating the piece. And believe us, it isn’t that simple. Masterpieces made by hand usually take a lot of time and effort, and John Hardy is never short of that.
One of the most iconic collections of the label is the “Cinta” which literally means love in Bali. Usually made with 22k or 18k of gold, noticeable in this collection are the unusual and very rare gems used by the label in each piece. Just the creation process of a Cinta jewelry piece can take up a lot of time, especially when the label follows an intensive 8-step process to make it. This process ensures that only top-quality pieces come out of the creative concepts of the brand, perfect to adorn the label’s loyal customers and fans.
From creative sketches turned watercolor with specific details, an official jeweler’s wax carving is made, where the design takes a 3D shape and refined further, as needed. The wax is then cast in a mold, then what takes place next is the pouring of the liquid silicone into the gypsum mold in order to make the silicone mold. After the silicone mold has cooled down and has been refined by hand, it is then attached to a wax tree. The wax tree is then copied so that a final version of it made from sterling silver will be created.
All the silver components are then refined by sanding and filing; then every gemstone is placed into the piece; and afterwards, polish again for one last time—all of which are done by hand.
Environmentally and socially responsible brand
John Hardy is a brand respected not only for its expertise in jewelry-making, but also its great love for the place it has chosen to get settled in. Not only does John Hardy protect the surroundings and environment in Bali, but also support the working class there, by having the Jobs for Life program. Through the program, the company is able to help students with their high school fees and then offer then apprenticeship in their headquarters.
Greener offices, natural and organic material, and following green guidelines—this could have been enough for the brand’s corporate social responsibility but they don’t stop there. They ensure that they provide a great environment for their employees where they can be fully comfortable and happy with their jobs.
Timeline of success
In 1975, John Hardy, then an art student, moved to Bali and learned the local techniques and process of jewelry-making. He learned it straight from a master artisan with a long line of goldsmiths that served royal courts. After acquiring all the skills and knowledge he needed, John Hardy created his eponymous label in 1989.
What helped a lot in the first few years of the label is the partnership it initiated with Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, two of the most well-known department stores in the US. When a fantastic senior designer for haute jewelry Guy Bedarida got on board the company, the progress of the workshop and headquarters of John Hardy was streamlined, as he took charge as the Head Designer. Afterwards, the international expansion of the brand happened through the efforts of Damien Dernoncourt, who became the President of the company in 2003. The expansion started in Hong Kong, then later on spread through Japan, Dubai and Russia.
John Hardy continued to develop and expand, both on areas of influence as well as in terms of quality of collection. It has recently took in Hollie Bonneville Barden, the new creative director of the label. With such change, it can be expected that Cinta Collection will produce more extravagantly stunning pieces and the company will boom even more in the years ahead.