Over the Christmas holidays I spent a lot of time on line, and was delighted to find Hanna Bernhard's site. She is the most amazing jewelry designer I have ever encountered. It's hard to find words to describe the impact of her jewelry. The scale and detail is amazing! Hanna Bernhard is actually a husband and wife team based in Paris. They have been creating jewelry for more than twenty years and you will see by the photos that creating these pieces is not just their vocation, it's an obsession for them. I was immediately drawn to their work–it's like nothing I have ever seen before. I started corresponding with Nathalie, one half of the amazing duo–we hit it off, and soon, I had pieces on the way—here they are in all their splendor.
This is the squid—he is over a foot long. All of the Hanna Bernhard pieces are a work of art on their own, and the designers handcraft a stand for each and every piece they design so that you can display them as art.
Here is the octopus…..we decided to attach the octopus to the most incredible Chanel jacket found on E-bay. It's from the Fall/94 collection.
They look great together. The octopus is so fantastical and the Chanel jacket is so gloriously tacky–I love it!
Here is an antelope pin……
More pictures of Jane wearing the squid. The scale is insane….this is definitely for a special occasion.
Dress by Jelly Garcia purchased this summer in Tokyo.
Here is the shrimp–he is 9 inches long!!
Last but not least—-the monkey. I think he is my favorite.
I have been fascinated by this jewelry and the two people behind it since I found the site. Nathalie was kind enough to do a short interview with me…. English is not Nathalie's first language, and she gave me permission to correct her English, but I thought she conveyed everything perfectly. I didn't want to change a letter. enjoy!!
1) When did you and your husband start designing Hanna Bernhard?
I have started to design jewelry before meeting Fernand. This was over 20 years ago. When we met he had just finished his dental prothese studies. We have put in common our skills, my love of colors and his aptitude to sculpture and have naturally started to make jewelry together.
2) Where does the name Hanna come from?
Hanna is my hebraic name. (Hanna was the mother of Samuel the prophet, that is why we named our son Samuel..you don't have to say that :)
3) What do you look for for inspiration?
Mostly nature but we are also influenced by our love for Art Deco and Art Nouveau, we are both in love with Lalique jewelry.
4) You seem to feature animals so often–why animals?
My father was a Natural sciences teacher, I have always been surrounded by gems and fossils -which he was collecting-, skulls of animals, books, etc. We have a countryside house, I used to go there every week end when I was young, my dad and I loved to hunt for butterflies, insects and fossils.
Fernand has spent most of his childhood in Corsica, he was living by the sea and diving to watch sea life was his favorite activity. He was very romantic and spent days alone in the nature, observing plants, flowers and insects.
5) Do you have any exciting projects or collaborations for the future that you would like us to know about?
We do have projects, including with a world known couture house; we are not superstitious but it is probably better to talk about them when projetcs have been concretized..
6) Do you have a favorite peice? If so, why is it your favorite?
Fernand is afraid of snakes, but paradoxically it is what he likes to make the best; may be a way to tame this animal..
He loves any sea creature, also insects and monkeys -he would may be say 'not true', but he is always talking about making more monkeys ! Last one is a baby chimpanze necklace, as big as a real one ! (see picture)
I have several favorite pieces, 2 peacock pins, male and female (you can see them on our site), I really love the colors, in shades of turquoise blue.
I had kept 2 pieces at home, a huge ostrich pin and a huge parrot pin (see picture), I have finally sold them after several years, last one to Iris Apfel (cf book 'Rare bird of fashion,The irreverend Iris Apfel').
On February 25th, Jane and I will host a showing at VOD Boutique in Dallas of Altlantis Vintage Jewelry. We will bring along the Hanna Bernhard pieces and have a couple for sale.