High jewelry pieces traditionally fall under the “Cinta Collection” — “cinta” means love in Indonesian — a nod to the roots of the jewelry house, which began in 1975 with Hardy establishing an artisan collective in Bali. Today, the brand maintains design studios in Bali and Thailand with its corporate headquarters in New York.
Cinta began as a private coterie of one-of-a-kind pieces designed by John Hardy exclusively for his wife, Cynthia. From there, it developed into a few singular stories, but up until now, there have yet to be any pieces designed collectively until Barden joined the brand from her previous post as the head designer for De Beers a little over two years ago.
“As I come from a high jewelry background, it was important to me to tell that story from the most aspirational and pinnacle expression all the way through to the mainline collections,” Barden said. With the high jewelry range, the designer aims to unify the story with the house’s other collections, “as a way to inspire the story and the imagination.”
“The overall gem selection process for Cinta is a nod to our heritage, unearthing exquisitely unique stones full of character,” said Barden, who splits her time between New York and Bali. “I fell in love with the story of John Hardy, the artistic roots and creative community that brings these pieces of art to life. It’s very important that I continue to celebrate that heritage and authenticity yet bring my unique perspective.”
Barden used three natural elemental universes — Volcano, Sky and Ocean — as themes for the collection to create her one-of-a kind, handcrafted designs. The 15-piece collection starts at $11,425 and includes multiple ring, bracelet, necklace and earring styles as well as one cuff style.
Barden worked with the brand’s creative community of gemologists, designers and artisans and used their traditional techniques, which “provides great influence to my creative process. It was brought to life over the course of 12 months by a small, highly trained team of 15 artisans solely dedicated to the making of this collection,” she said.
The Volcano suite incorporates black tourmaline, organically shaped madeira citrines and tiger iron set with rose gold; Sky features cloud-like Tahitian and white mother-of-pearls alongside gray diamond, blue and gray sapphires in 18-karat white gold; while Ocean uses blue green opals with dark blue sapphires, white mother-of-pearl and white diamonds with 18-karat yellow gold.
“With Cinta in particular, I wanted to pair nontraditional ‘precious’ materials that are rich in texture alongside rare, luxurious materials,” she explained.
Barden said her customer “is one who celebrates character, substance and imperfections. Our client looks for powerful and dramatic designs that help tell their personal journey in how they style. Our jewelry, Cinta included, evokes emotion and becomes a tool for the client to express themselves.”
Barden recently worked on a creative collaboration with model Adwoa Aboah, producing a capsule jewelry line recently unveiled at a Balinese style night market event in New York. Aboah first worked with the jeweler in 2017 in its “Made for Legends” campaign.
“We have achieved a lot to elevate the core collections throughout my two years, and I now feel liberated to have fun and can unlock the daring, theatrical spirit of John Hardy. I can lean into the wilder side of the brand,” Barden said of her new high jewelry collection.