Jess Hannah is a 20-something sustainable jewelry designer and business owner based in Los Angeles. Her line, J. Hannah, focuses on craft, heritage and timelessness. Jewelry for living in and living with, points of connection and classic beauty for the modern era. This sentiment is expressed in her tagline, Jewelry for how it should be worn: never taken off.
Her pieces are made with either solid 14-carat gold or sterling silver and all stones are 100% ethically sourced. In 2017, she extended this philosophy with the launch of an elegant collection of nail polishes in a palette for the “color-resistant” meaning shades inspired by artist’s palettes, historical places and muses she envisioned representing specific eras or moods. The polishes are non-toxic, cruelty-free and made in the USA.
Now, her collection of jewelry and polishes is beloved by "cool girls" around the world (with nearly a quarter of a million dedicated followers).
This expansion into polish creation was an organic one. Hannah found that she was showing people her hands a lot thanks to her career as a jewelry designer and she was always left wanting by the selection at conventional salons. Disappointed by the typical color options like fire-engine red and pinks, herr polishes consider the gracefulness of hands and the role of subtle color as an element in the considered wardrobe. Since her personal style is more classic and neutral, she wanted her nails to be an extension of that.
For spring, Hannah released a gorgeous limited edition shade for the season. The new color, Nectar, was carefully selected after polling @j.hannah's Instagram followers on their “dream” spring shades of nail polish; it's inspired by smokey apricot, sun-faded ranunculus and muted Thai tea, and is now available exclusively on jhannahjewelry.com.
What was your original inspiration for J. Hannah?
JESS HANNAH: I discovered my love for jewelry early on, after inheriting some of my grandmother's vintage pieces. 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 briefly apprenticed with a local jeweler duo. J. Hannah started with me hand-making every piece myself and it grew organically from there.
Who is the girl you design for?
JH: The J. Hannah ideal woman is someone who enjoys carefully curating and collecting what they adorn themselves with. Someone with a strong sense of self that is quietly expressed and acts thoughtfully instead of impulsively. I think someone who is interested in fashion doesn’t buy very many things at a time and saves up for more special pieces that they intend to keep forever.
What's the connection to you between jewelry and polish?
JH: It mostly started out of personal desire. I am often showing off the jewels on my hands, so I make an effort to keep them well-manicured. I was having so much trouble finding good colors at my usual nail salons aside from your typical fire engine red and a sea of pale pinks. I decided to fill the void I saw at the time, selfishly in a way I suppose. J. Hannah polish is not about having every color in the rainbow or following trends, rather a tight selection of effortlessly 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.
What polish color are you loving for summer?
JH: We just released Nectar, which is our offering for this spring/summer season. It recalls smokey apricot, sun-faded ranunculus and Thai tea, a conceptual summer bouquet.
What are some of your favorite spots in LA?
JH: For food my favorite is WoodSpoon. It's where I go to celebrate in a cozy fashion. Destroyer is another favorite and it's close to home. I discovered the art book collection at Arcana and it's the sort of place where time escapes you, I could spend hours browsing.
What are you most excited about for summer 2019?
JH: Barbecues in my backyard: grilled corn is my favorite food.
Photography by: Photography Courtesy of J. Hannah, by Kate Berry