JH_byJenSteele

Jess Hannah Révész

on her remarkable, methodical, and growing body of work

on her extensive, methodical, and remarkable body of work

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY J.HANNAH • INTERVIEW BY CARIANN BRADLEY

SHOP J.HANNAH'S NEWEST DROP HERE, HER POLISH HERE, AND CEREMONY HERE.

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY J.HANNAH • INTERVIEW BY CARIANN BRADLEY

SHOP J.HANNAH'S NEWEST DROP HERE, HER POLISH HERE, AND CEREMONY HERE.

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CARIANN: Can you explain to me what the distinction between your brands is? I know there is J.Hannah, but your latest project is Ceremony. Give me the 411.

JESS: J. Hannah is my cherished first born and eponymous line. It's a collection of fine jewelry intended for everyday wear and destined for heirloom status. Ceremony was founded by my business partner Chelsea Nicholson and I. It's a collection of commitment rings to symbolize love of all kinds. Everything I do orbits around my passion for special and beautiful objects imbued with emotional significance, usually the commemoration of a special event or feeling.

 

C: I feel like both J.Hannah and Ceremony focus on some hard-hitting topics, especially in today's climate. Your projects include themes of sustainability and equality. When I think of your work I only have positive thoughts. Talk to me a bit about the ethos of your brands.

J: For both brands we take sustainability seriously, as it is not something to be treated like a trend or a marketing tactic. It's important to us that everyone who has a hand in creating our jewelry is fairly compensated and working under safe conditions. The foundation of our efforts is in keeping our production local, and minimizing the waste produced by our business. It also means that all our metals are 100% recycled and all our stones are traceable to the source and ethically acquired. It's an ongoing process of learning, and adopting a thoughtful and aspirational attitude towards the best business practices as we grow.

At J. Hannah this also means instilling a culture around our designs - our ideal customer is someone who doesn’t buy very many things at a time, and saves up for more special pieces that they intend to keep forever. It's our small offering in the face of fast fashion.

Ceremony started out of the awareness that the engagement and wedding ring narrative is outdated: we love the symbolism that a ring can stand for, rooted in history and significance. However, we believe a ring can represent whatever you define it to mean — a marker of engagement or weddings, but also able to signify meaning, connection, and growth. We wanted to create a collection that represented a ring as a symbol of love and acceptance; a reminder of individuality and love of all kinds. We don't use the word "bridal," because we wanted to create a collection of commitment rings that felt more authentic to real relationships. It's a spectrum of designs that leaves room for the customer to decide how to mark and signify their love, whatever that looks like.

We didn't separate the collection into men's and women's categories, and you don't need to be getting married or engaged to wear one of our rings. We tried to avoid design semantics that would explicitly gender the pieces or render them static. It's an invitation for the customer to freely consider a multiplicity of styles, and oust any predetermined boundaries that would drive someone away from what they might be otherwise drawn to wearing. At the same time we wanted to give people a product that is created from the highest quality materials, responsibly sourced, and conceptualized with care — without the extreme price markups that are standard in the market for something like this; overall, a ring that aligns with your values.

 

C: Could you talk about the polish? It came after the jewelry, right? The color stories of the polish is so specific (and stunning).  

J: My motivation for starting the polish line was that I couldn't find what I wanted on the market. I am often showing off the jewels on my hands, so I make an effort to keep them well-manicured, and one thing led to another. J. Hannah polish is not about having every color in the rainbow or following trends, rather a tight selection of wearable colors. I figured I probably wasn't the only one craving some respite from the louder pop colors you usually see on the shelf. I wanted to make it easier to find that laid back shade that you won't ever get sick of, and that will actually look good once you put it on, not just in the bottle. Since we come to these nuanced shades through unique sources of inspiration we always share that story, linking it back to the living colors that we're paying homage to.

CARIANN: Can you explain to me what the distinction between your brands is? I know there is J.Hannah, but your latest project is Ceremony. Give me the 411.

JESS: J. Hannah is my cherished first born and eponymous line. It's a collection of fine jewelry intended for everyday wear and destined for heirloom status. Ceremony was founded by my business partner Chelsea Nicholson and I. It's a collection of commitment rings to symbolize love of all kinds. Everything I do orbits around my passion for special and beautiful objects imbued with emotional significance, usually the commemoration of a special event or feeling.

 

C: I feel like both J.Hannah and Ceremony focus on some hard-hitting topics, especially in today's climate. Your projects include themes of sustainability and equality. When I think of your work I only have positive thoughts. Talk to me a bit about the ethos of your brands.

J: For both brands we take sustainability seriously, as it is not something to be treated like a trend or a marketing tactic. It's important to us that everyone who has a hand in creating our jewelry is fairly compensated and working under safe conditions. The foundation of our efforts is in keeping our production local, and minimizing the waste produced by our business. It also means that all our metals are 100% recycled and all our stones are traceable to the source and ethically acquired. It's an ongoing process of learning, and adopting a thoughtful and aspirational attitude towards the best business practices as we grow.

At J. Hannah this also means instilling a culture around our designs - our ideal customer is someone who doesn’t buy very many things at a time, and saves up for more special pieces that they intend to keep forever. It's our small offering in the face of fast fashion.

Ceremony started out of the awareness that the engagement and wedding ring narrative is outdated: we love the symbolism that a ring can stand for, rooted in history and significance. However, we believe a ring can represent whatever you define it to mean — a marker of engagement or weddings, but also able to signify meaning, connection, and growth. We wanted to create a collection that represented a ring as a symbol of love and acceptance; a reminder of individuality and love of all kinds. We don't use the word "bridal," because we wanted to create a collection of commitment rings that felt more authentic to real relationships. It's a spectrum of designs that leaves room for the customer to decide how to mark and signify their love, whatever that looks like.

We didn't separate the collection into men's and women's categories, and you don't need to be getting married or engaged to wear one of our rings. We tried to avoid design semantics that would explicitly gender the pieces or render them static. It's an invitation for the customer to freely consider a multiplicity of styles, and oust any predetermined boundaries that would drive someone away from what they might be otherwise drawn to wearing. At the same time we wanted to give people a product that is created from the highest quality materials, responsibly sourced, and conceptualized with care — without the extreme price markups that are standard in the market for something like this; overall, a ring that aligns with your values.

 

C: Could you talk about the polish? It came after the jewelry, right? The color stories of the polish is so specific (and stunning).  

J: My motivation for starting the polish line was that I couldn't find what I wanted on the market. I am often showing off the jewels on my hands, so I make an effort to keep them well-manicured, and one thing led to another. J. Hannah polish is not about having every color in the rainbow or following trends, rather a tight selection of wearable colors. I figured I probably wasn't the only one craving some respite from the louder pop colors you usually see on the shelf. I wanted to make it easier to find that laid back shade that you won't ever get sick of, and that will actually look good once you put it on, not just in the bottle. Since we come to these nuanced shades through unique sources of inspiration we always share that story, linking it back to the living colors that we're paying homage to.

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Calla

C: What is something that you want to improve on or change?

J: Right now we are happy with what we have achieved in terms of low impact, sustainable jewelry. As we learn more about the mining of metals and gemstones, as well as gem cutting and the rest of  the supply chain behind any piece of jewelry, we are more focused on how we can change our production to make a positive impact. There are a lot of opportunities to support regulated and fair mines across the world, and the ripple effects of this support can change entire communities and help to end the exploitation that is rife in the mining industry. This requires a holistic approach and we're working on our own education so that we can make the best choices. Last month this meant sending team members to the Jewelry Sustainability Conference in Chicago, which was rewarding and illuminating to say the least. 

 


C: A lot of people describe your pieces as minimalist. How do you describe them?

J: You're right about that! I think our origins are absolutely in minimalism, but more often than not my designs are informed by the decorative, historical, and traditional. If you boiled down these opulent themes into a reduction I think you get the J. Hannah aesthetic— simplified opulence, edited maximalism. Classics like signets and hoops are a huge part of our collection because they are wearable staples, and I think that's where the recognition for our minimalism plays a role.

 


C: Bouncing off of that, what inspired you to get into your work? How long were you interested in doing something like this?

J: In college I studied graphic design, but I liked making things with my hands, so it was a natural progression to learn the craft, as I couldn't afford the things I was lusting after. I began learning from a retired jeweler out of her garage. Later I started making pieces independently in my bedroom, and later on briefly apprenticed with a local jeweler duo. J. Hannah started with me hand-making every piece myself and it grew organically from there! My earliest proclivities towards jewelry predates all of this, and I can trace it back to my interest in tinkering with my grandmother's jewelry. She had accumulated a lifetime of pieces that all had different significance for her. My favorite piece of hers inspired my Clara collection, it's a delicate oval bead that is suspended from a cable chain. I elaborated on the original design with a few variations, including a bracelet and a few other necklaces. My Clara Necklace is a foundational piece that I never take off. I think these origins is really what informed the identity.

"Simplified opulence,

edited maximalism."

"Simplified opulence,

edited maximalism."

"Simplified opulence,

edited maximalism."

"Simplified opulence,

edited maximalism."

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C: I've heard musicians talk about their songs becoming the soundtrack to someone else's life, and how those songs live bigger lives than they ever could have imagined. What are a couple of the most meaningful stories you've heard from your customers about your work that they now own and incorporate into their lives?

J: People purchase jewelry often to commemorate major life events, and we are always so grateful we get to play a role in creating symbols of these moments. They can be bittersweet or joyous. We had a customer reach out to us to purchase on Objet Pendant, a necklace that opens up like a locket to reveal a tiny storage chamber. She reached out to tell us how happy she was to receive it, and that she couldn't wait to fill it with rose petals from her recently passed grandmother's garden. What is cool about this particular piece is that it's intended to take on a life of its own after it leaves our hands, it is an empty vessel to be filled (or fulfilled) creatively by the wearer.

The gratitude in these exchanges is always very mutual and nourishing.

Custom projects are always similarly rewarding, especially if it has the conspiratorial aspect of being a surprise gift. A friend's fiancé came to me to create a custom engagement ring for his partner, a friend of mine. He knew that she really wanted a pearl engagement ring but he wanted help to make it funky and unique. After consulting over a period of time we created something I was so proud of, a version of the J. Hannah Duo Face Signet that incorporated an oval mabé pearl and an oval rose cut diamond. I never would have arrived at this if it was not for the inspiration of their relationship. Now we all share in the pride and joy around this one of a kind ring, and I have a new deeper sense of connection to my friend's partner. 

 

C: What are you looking forward to? Can you give me hints of anything coming soon? You always drop historical or artistic photos on your Instagram and I'm just like, this is going to reflect a new piece isn't it?

J: It's difficult to remain tight lipped about what we have in store—often as one collection gets released I'm on a high from having just designed the next collection. What we have in store for spring is a new take on the signet/identity jewelry we are known for, employing new techniques in our use of stones! It's also a bit of an aesthetic departure from our usual designs, but still very rooted in the historical as a modern heirloom. These pieces are an ode to the elements and the way they connect with the wearer. Not sure I can say more without revealing too much!

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J.HANNAH RELEASED THE MINI STRATA HOOPS TODAY — SHOP HERE. CEREMONY'S NEW SITE ALSO LAUNCHES TODAY — VISIT HERE.

J.HANNAH RELEASED THE MINI STRATA HOOPS TODAY — SHOP HERE. CEREMONY'S NEW SITE ALSO LAUNCHES TODAY — VISIT HERE.

CARIANN TESTED & APPROVED

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Have you been to Midnight Woman? That's our sister.

Midnight Woman is an online platform that welcomes contributors of all kinds to submit personal experiences anonymously.

We aim to redefine the way we talk about what's happened to us, no matter the subject. l'Odet exists for the named to encourage the nameless.

Midnight Woman is an online platform that welcomes contributors of all kinds to submit personal experiences.

We aim to redefine the way we talk about what's happened to us, no matter the subject. L'Odet exists for the named to encourage the nameless.