The artisan jeweler and her Balinese journey.
DESIGNING A COLLECTION IS A TIMELY PROCESS THAT INCLUDES WAVES OF VARIED EMOTIONS
NICHE columnist, jewelry designer and unapologetic fashionista, Sylvia Tennant created her newest crystal jewelry collection, and NICHE has the exclusive story that began with an inspirational journey to the Indonesian island of Bali, and concludes in this issue with the fulfillment of a dream... When I think back to the beginning of this process, the suggestion of sharing my journey to readers felt daunting. There were days when the pressure of creating trendconscious, unique and timeless jewelry was slightly crippling. I kept reminding myself that flying across the world to create my art is normal, to me. All of the little moments – the warm smiles and laughter of market vendors, the freedom of ripping through rice fields on my scooter, the smell of a meal during a torrential downpour – these are the memories that make it all worth it.
Designing a collection, like any large-scale creative project, is a timely process that includes waves of varied emotions. In my case, the inaugural rush of nerves and doubt while sketching and gem buying leads to relief as I submit plans to my silversmith. This momentary pause for joy and relaxation is broken like a dam when samples arrive and the game of minuscule alteration begins. Stones are switched, bands are thinned by millimeters, and chain is re-cut until it feels like I could wear the pieces forever. In these moments, my intuition kicks into overdrive. Approving final designs is a release of much more than sketches and samples. After the exhilaration of establishing production in an unfamiliar place, it was time to leave Ubud and retreat to a world
of glorious distraction along the coast. Vastly different from the central jungles that had become familiar, Seminyak is a truly unique shopping, foodie, and party mecca. There is an unapologetic vibrancy to this scene that entices one’s curiosity and sends my bohemian heart soaring. The Prisoners of Saint Petersburg, an ever-evolving women’s fashion and accessories store, was a refreshing find in my search for a beautiful dress (also an excellent stop for lovers of curated prints, vintage-inspired sunglasses, and one-of-a-few pieces).
Tucked away from the everpresent purr of commotion is Alila Seminyak, where I morphed into the next phase of my trip: beach mode. My face was met with the smells of paradise and salt water in their vast, open-air reception, which is both architecturally minimalist and opulent. In addition to the expansive suites and manicured grounds, Alila offers multiple unique aspects that make this property notably excellent. The concierge team extends an impressive list of offerings, tailored to their guests’ individual interests and priorities. My stay included a hands-on lesson on the traditions of Balinese culture in an ancient temple situated in the middle of their property, and finished with a sunset dinner at the newly launched (and highly recommended) Seasalt.
This trip would not be complete without showing my mom the southern shore of Bali’s epic coastline. We traveled south on a winding road to our final destination – Karma Kandara. Designed with considerate appreciation of the land, the surroundings are dominated by staggered limestone cliffs that rise above the Indian Ocean. It is here that we steeped our senses in the slow pleasures of villa life, relishing the final days with sessions in the luxurious spa huts and soaks in our private pool. My brother and his friends popped in
from Vietnam, which really put our ample three-story, four-bedroom villa and lush grounds to good use. On our last day, we wandered past monkeys, valleys, and viewpoints on a walkway that led to a tram, which brought us to the beach club. The collection would have to be delivered here, in the final hours of our trip. This of course was not planned, however the nervewracking delay that always seems to follow creative processes was well worth the wait.
The first glimpse of the collection was met with celebratory cocktails and group hugs, yet this creative pilgrimage is just one spoke in a wheel that continues to roll my business forward. Looking ahead, this chapter is simply a draft - one I will rewrite each year in an attempt to perfect the process.
But for now, I am at peace, finally holding a physical manifestation of my ideas in my hands.