Tuesday, October 20, 2009

John Hardy

This is John Hardy. Born 1949 in Canada, he was a jewelry art student, who made a trip to Bali in 1975, and never made it back home.

Hardy had discovered the traditional art of making silver jewelry, and decided to stay on in Ubud, a small village in Bali famed for its highly skilled artisans. Their knowledge and know-how is passed down from generation to generation, and Hardy was fascinated by the techniques and motifs. He was determined to learn extensively from the artisans and masters who for hundreds of years have served the royal courts of Bali.

John Hardy Silver and Gold Greco Drop Earrings

The metal-on-metal technique is called "dotting", sometimes known as "granulation", where itty-bitty bits of silver and/or gold is heat-mounted on a main body of silver, and then hammered, to form a pattern. Armed with this knowledge, and his own vision and creativity, Hardy started his line of jewelry from Ubud.

John Hardy Leather Naga Dragon Bracelet

John Hardy, the self-titled line of jewelry, is a brand synonymous with "sustainable luxury". It has always been Hardy's intent to give back to the people of Bali, both in financial terms, and through the preserving of the traditional art of Bali silver jewelry. Infused with this brand of history, conscientiousness and a brilliant modern interpretation of traditional Eastern elements, John Hardy jewelry is some of the most soulful pieces you will ever come across.

John Hardy Pave Diamond Twisted Cuff

In 1999, after forging very successful relationships with the top guns in American retail, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth avenue, Hardy handed the Head Designer torch to Guy Bedarida, who was then a senior designer at Van Cleef and Arpels. By 2002, John Hardy the label was working with precious gems as well.

John and Cynthia Hardy

John Hardy the man was veering his focus in another direction. He and his wife Cynthia, began looking into making the entire John Hardy establishment more green. Seasoned environmentalists that they were, they initiated the planting of bamboo on a small island off Bali called Nusa Penida, home also to the highly endangered Bali Starling. And leading by example, they commissioned a showroom, named Kapal Bambu, in Ubud, made entirely out of bamboo.

Kapal Bambu, the John Hardy showroom in Ubud made entirely of bamboo

Interior of Kapal Bambu

Why bamboo, you say? Because bamboo is fast-growing and robust, and has been proven to absorb 30% more carbon dioxide than hardwood trees, that also incidentally take ages to grow. As a tribute and a campaign, John Hardy launched its Nusa Penida Bamboo series, featuring gorgeous bangles and hoop earrings, with the characteristic texture of the bamboo plant. And with every piece of the Bamboo series bought, John Hardy plants a promised number of bamboo plants on Nusa Penida. This number is engraved in the jewelry piece.

From the John Hardy Nusa Penida Bamboo Collection. The cuff above also contains detailed depiction of Nusa Penida's endangered Bali Starlings.

In 2003, Damien Dernoncourt, a prominent French businessman based in Hong Kong, joined John Hardy as CEO. By 2007, Hardy and his wife sold their entire share of the conglomerate they had started almost 30 years ago, to Dernoncourt and Bedarida. Seeing that John hardy the jewelry line was in good hands, John and Cynthia Hardy decided to shift their focus.

construction of the Green School

So they went and built a bamboo international school, called Green School in Ubud, where the curriculum is an admirable blend of formal education and a green philosophy intended for the better of the future of Mother Earth; an entirely relevant and holistic approach to living better, more responsibly and more consciously, as part of our macrocosm.

John and Cynthia Hardy's Green School

“We are building the School to create a new paradigm for learning. We want to cultivate physical sensibilities so that children adapt and grow capable, as well as spiritual awareness and emotional intuition to encourage them to be in awe of life’s possibilities,” says Cynthia Hardy.

Bambu Indah

The latest project of the Hardy's is the bamboo hotel, Bambu Indah, which means "beautiful bamboo". The gorgeous property features individual rustic luxury bamboo huts dotting a rice field landscape, and a natural pool, which is basically a big hole in the ground lined with recyclable polyethlene. Its water is channeled from natural springs from the mountains, and "cleaned" with the bunging in of "smart" bacteria every now and then.

Bambu Indah's natural pool

one of the rooms at Bambu Indah

More than amazing, I find it absolutely admirable and so inspiring, what John and Cynthia Hardy have achieved in their lives. Arriving in Bali in 1975, as young hippie travelers, they have since carved out a super-successful business with something close to their hearts, and that's jewelry art.

Having gained success from that, they created more meaning in their lives and made serious efforts to give back and sustain those that have sustained them. Theirs is a life story of constant growth, of continued faith in ideals, a hippie fairytale that ends exactly how it began: In Bliss.

"And they lived happily ever after..."
The Hardy family in their home in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.


  1. woow keep it dude wonderful work wish i could come to the place..

  2. Love the jewelry , the concept.

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