My love for John Hardy jewelry is so strong I had to fly across the world to Indonesia to visit their workshop! Ok, my husband and I just happened to be honeymooning in Bali and lo and behold the jewelry company has a workshop in the country hills of Ubud on the island of Bali! How convenient and coincidental for us! “Rich in nature, beauty, creativity, tradition and culture, Bali continues to be our universal source of inspiration,” says the folks at John Hardy. It is known as the island of wonders.
Talking about entering a magical land! This place might just be the most zen work environment I have ever experienced. Taking it all in this atmosphere beyond the rice and bamboo fields is enriched with greenery and traditional Bali-style buildings. They have animals onsite such as rabbits for compost and every day over 700 workers are fed a wholesome vegetarian lunch prepared on property using fresh farm ingredients. My hubby and I also experienced the sumptuous al fresco dining experience. It might have been the freshest meal I have ever enjoyed and in the company of the workshop’s senior management! Side note….through John Hardy’s “Jobs for Life Program” they provide vocational training, financial support, and job opportunities to disadvantaged Balinese orphans.
Back to the jewelry, my collection of John Hardy pieces has been growing throughout the years. Over a decade, in fact. I love the designs and even more-so the meaning behind the designs. This workshop tour was truly enriching. I think I got my husband hooked once he discovered their Naga collection…..dragons! He has a huge dragon collection. He now has the Naga cufflinks. Yes he is hooked! LOL.
During our workshop tour, we learned and witnessed the true art of jewelry making. In fact there is a well thought out process. Each and every John Hardy piece is artisan-crafted in a lauded eight-step process using fine jewelry techniques descended from the jewelers of Bali’s ancient royal courts.
- The Sketch – begins by sketching a concept, which evolves into a series of watercolor illustrations.
- Wax Carvings – are made using the designer’s sketch as a guide. The traditional technique is done using a hard green jeweler’s wax.
- Master Castings – are created from the carved wax, then taken to the workshop to be cast in silver or gold.
- Molds – of the master are made with a flexible material. Artisans inject it with a blue casting wax that will form every future reproduction of that piece.
- Wax Trees – are then set in a gypsum mold. When placed in an oven, the wax melts away and is replaced with silver or gold.
- Silver or Gold Trees – are the result of the casting, which replicates the wax tree in the form of precious metal.
- Assembly – by an artisan ensures the cleaned components form a singular piece of John Hardy jewelry.
- Finishing – is accomplished with a variety of techniques, including polishing, soldering, or adding intricate details such as signature hinges, clasps, and hand-set gemstones.
Here is a video of one of the artisans hard at work creating a mold of one of the newest designs soon to come. This is raw, unfiltered, and exclusive my friends!!!
So as you can see, at once dynamic and exquisite, jewelry is brought brilliantly to life from sketch design to completion by the master artisans, resulting in pieces that are powerful, dramatic and inspiring. If a trip to Bali is in your future please keep this place in mind. It is worth the ½ day trip. Definitely a bucket list item in my book! In case you are wondering, yes I might have bought a few items while I was there. It was tax free baby!
For more information on John Hardy please go to their website www.johnhardy.com . If you are in Houston, take a stroll through the River Oaks District. They have a brick and mortar boutique next door to iPic! Let them know your friend Trende Brende sent you.