Whilst jewellery expert and consultant Joanna Hardy admits ‘jewellery is my passion’ she adds, “Although if I had my life all over again I would probably be a landscape gardener. I love gardening and even got my RHS general certificate in Horticulture years ago. My husband used to be a Park Ranger in Australia, so he knows all about flora and fauna too.
“I have just had a big birthday and, as I’m known as Joey, a friend gave me a beautiful rose called ‘Just Joey’, it’s gorgeous. I keep meaning to put a day a week aside to learn garden design at Chelsea Physic Garden but my work is just too busy at the moment, which is also why our fabulous garden in Wimbledon has been a bit neglected lately. We do grow our own veg and my dream is to have an orchid greenhouse one day. I have orchids all over the house; they are the jewel of the flower world. I adore their complexity and the subtlety, the fact they last so long and are such good value.”
As well as regular expert on the Antiques Road Show, Joanna has also created the Jewellery School of Excellence programme and teaches master classes for groups and on a one-to-one basis. “I want jewellery to be accessible to everyone; so people can be engaged without thinking it’s all about Bond Street.” She explains, “I love unique pieces, antique or contemporary, as long as they are well made. Craftsmanship is so important. I always choose my jewellery to suit my mood and then choose my clothes to suit my jewellery. I love big bold jewels that make a statement, though I can’t wear my big earrings under my crash helmet when I commute to work on my motorbike,” she laughs.
And the inspirational lecturer and broadcaster also forfeits her jewels for outdoor expeditions. “I love camping. My husband and I spent a couple of months travelling between Sydney and Cape York in Australia, just living off the land. We had bush fires, baked bread in the ground and were chased by razorback pigs and crocodiles,” she recalls. “Because I can’t wear lots of jewellery on those sorts of trips, I always take my camera and take loads of close up shots of flora, it’s my substitute for jewellery.”
Joanna’s current exhibition ‘Art Rocks: Contemporary Jewellery’ can be viewed at 112 Mount Street in Mayfair until the 28th of January. The ex-Sotheby’s expert explains, “I see jewellery as an art form so I am showcasing the work of 10 artists from around the world in an art gallery. People tend to wear their diamonds and pearls almost as a uniform and I want to encourage people to try different ways to use and enjoy jewellery.”
Joanna’s book, ‘Collect Contemporary: Jewelry’ is now available to pre-order from Amazon. For more details visit www.joannahardy.com.