John Hardy visited Bali for the first time in the 1970s, and became entranced by the island's beauty and culture. As Anthony Bourdain would say, he went bamboo, settling there and launching his eponymous jewelry brand in 1975, assembling a team of master craftsmen to create fine jewelry using the traditional eight-step Balinese process passed down from the jewelers to the island's historical royal court.
The result is a jewelry brand that feels dramatically different than its American and European counterparts. Rings are cast with a bamboo-inspired texture, and statement pieces are boldly embellished with tigers, dragons, serpents and eagles rendered in diamonds and other gems to represent mythological creatures of Balinese lore.
Long available at local stores like Lewis Jewelers, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, now John Hardy has announced plans to open a stand-alone boutique in River Oaks District in September. The 1,000-square-foot store will be the first from the company in the U.S., followed by a New York flagship scheduled to debut in SoHo in November, with more across the country arriving in 2017. It's probably mostly to do with logistics, but Houston getting a location before not just Dallas, but before New York seems like a major acknowledgement of the local market for luxury goods.
"As we work to grow the John Hardy brand and bring the best luxury jewelry and service to our clients, expansion into retail boutiques in the U.S. is a natural next step,” says John Hardy CEO Robert Hanson via press release. “John Hardy’s heritage and expertise in artisan handcrafted jewelry rooted in Balinese traditions make for a unique brand story that is best told through owned boutiques. The retail stores will really be a distinctive 3-D articulation of the brand’s powerful design, dramatic detail and inspiring meaning."