In a world of mass production and fast fashion, creative individuals that move together in the collective consciousness of handcrafted artisanal jewellery are such a breath of fresh air. Heading to Bali sometime soon? You’ll want to take a look at these Bali-born jewellery brands created by some of the coolest designers from around the world. Here are their stories.
The Geneva-born artist and designer Irma Yasandikusuma started to advance her jewellery journey upon her move back to Indonesia in 2016, after starting her line IRMA WY earlier on in 2013 in France. Residing in her Bali home, Irma would work with local artisans to produce one-of-a-kind jewellery that reflected her perspectives on traveling, Indonesian culture, and her ancestry. While the Parisian elegance she developed through living in Paris plays a deep role in her designs, her aesthetic focal point revolves around adaptations of Indonesian culture, such as the majestic details in the Sumatran traditional house Rumah Gadang.
Paying homage to her urban lifestyle as well as natural landscapes, spirituality, and soul music, Irma relies on her intuition to guide her in choosing raw materials to work with. When choosing her stones, she would wander through hot alleys around cities like Surabaya and Bali, and carefully pick the ones that speak to her the most, before carving them into authentic statement pieces. Check out the Wijayakusuma Flower and Star Pendant, Rumah Gadang Family Rings, and Ratu Asiah Metal Pendant, among others. Irma recently exhibited her collections at Bisma Eight in Ubud, where she organised a traditional dance performance with dancers wearing her pieces.
Shop IRMA WY online here.
Antiquity, symbolism, and animal totem pieces: these are the few key pillars in Mehadi’s pieces. When Liz Bowen first came to Bali, a thought of curating ready-made jewellery from other brands was in her mind. However, she wasn’t finding the kind of pieces that she’d want to wear herself at the time, fuelling her desire to create her own. While being taken around Celuk and Tampaksiring – two regions in Bali famous for jewellery production – opportunities opened up and the creative flow became unstoppable. Her love for vintage and antique jewelry led her to an eight-month design and brand development period, and Mehadi was eventually born in 2018.
The name “Mehadi” is Sanskrit for flower, and her collections revolve around symbolisms of time and civilisation. Hence, the Animal Totem pieces such as a Wolf Ring and a Fox Ring. Our personal favourite is the Octopus Arm Cuff, which symbolises having a strong intuition and deep connections to one’s emotions. We wouldn’t mind putting on the wonderfully-detailed Camille Sunflower Necklace either.
Shop Mehadi online here.
The backstory behind tredici.zerodue jewels (TZD Jewels) sounds like most romantic Bali stories: winding up in Bali, stumbling upon a life-changing experience, and getting so inspired you never want to leave again. But for Italian designer Elena Petroni, it has been a rather inimitable journey. The idea for the brand came way back in 2016 as a way of self-expression, and after a year dedicated to exhausting research and putting together a team of qualified silversmiths, TZD was born. The name in Italian translates as “thirteen, zero, two”: February 13 was the day she moved to the island of the Gods. 13 was also the number of jewelries she’d sold during a very memorable private sale in Bali.
Elena’s life experiences are reflected in her strong, bold, and expressive designs. “I think of jewels as containers of emotions, something vibrant that are able to carry the stories they’re made of”, she stated. Her careful selection of materials makes certain statement pieces especially appealing, and our favourite is the ORBITA Triple Ring from The Moon Diary series, featuring three different freshwater pearls in white, grey and black. We also adore the leather look on the HALO Necklace, a true symbol of feminine power.
Shop TZD Jewels online here.
Hunt of Hounds
From power couple Sabrina and Cole Johnson’s love for history, romance, adventure, and magic comes Hunt of Hounds, transforming from a bedroom operation into a little empire that’s been growing for a solid nine years. Their creative direction is heavily influenced by storytelling, as seen in collections such as Fight For The Light — centred around the myths of spring and the emergence of light from out of the darkness. There’s also Stars Will Align, a collection that uses symbols of force and fortune to tell a story of empowerment and humility, and Woodland, inspired by the wild beauty of the Canadian landscape.
The duo’s metals and gemstones are personally selected to provide something unique and long lasting to their customers. We dig the look on the Trinity Ring from their new collection, Ex Voto, consisting of three symbols; success, strength and devotion. Recently, Hunts of Hounds hosted their first ever pop up in Jakarta. “We have such great customers all over Indonesia, but we had never done anything like a pop up or trunk show. In fact, we were a bit nervous that no one would show up, but we ended up selling out our entire inventory in one day! It was a beautiful experience and we were able to meet so many of our long-term clients and new customers as well”, said Sabrina when asked about Hunts of Hounds’s creative journey.
Shop Hunt of Hounds online here.
While many may know ZLABA for being one of the pioneer artisanal jewelry brands in Indonesia, we have more to share on how the brand came to be. Founded in 2013 by Jakarta-based photographer Noran Bakrie and Bali-based painter Salvita DeCorte, the creative duo decided to create 3D, wearable, and practical pieces to share parts of the world that they’ve travelled to. Using primarily 22k yellow gold, 22k rose gold, and .925 sterling silver due to their ability to be recycled, ZLABA has now expanded through consignments in stores in places like Juulsjuuls in Berlin, Monoco in Tokyo, as well as Jewelstreet and The Pommier in London.
Each collection has its own backstory: Fragments represents a story of light, memories, and empowering identity, highlighting the holographic playfulness of sterling silver material and its minimalist, edgy designs. Biang is taken from an Indonesian word that means ‘the source’ or ‘the core’, and it comprises 22k yellow gold vermeil jewellery inspired by strong female figures. We can’t help but adore the Teget Double Ring, Soleil Necklace and Aalto Bracelet from this series. ZLABA is currently preparing for its London Fashion Week presentation in February 2020.
Shop ZLABA online here.
When the young talented feminist Carina Hardy decided to turn her obsession with beauty into palpable creations, she wasn’t expecting such wonderful feedback in the beginning days of Elppin. What started as selling brooches out of her backpack eventually evolved into varied collections at four retails stores in New York City and two stores in Bali. Carina started designing the Elppin (‘nipple’ spelled backwards) brooch as a means of empowerment, to liberate women from patriarchal power structures associated with cultural taboos concerning women’s sexualization, shame, and trauma. The primary shape of her brooch designs resemble an eye, and is to be worn like a pin to crown the breast and confront the curious gaze like a shield.
Elppin pieces are made of hammered brass, silver and gold, durable materials that improve with age, and we love the patina that develops. While the Nipple Brooches will always be Elppin’s essence, we also like the classy look on the Nipple Shield Earring, Spinning Nipple Pendant, and Tripple Nipple Drop Earring. Carina proudly gives back 10% of her profits to Planned Parenthood and Bumi Sehat, the acclaimed free natural birth clinic in Ubud that she volunteers at. We’ll forever say yes to supporting inspiring creatives like these!
Shop Elppin online here.
Top Image: ZLABA