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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Rock Hard Designs Fine Jewellery for the Right Reasons

Jul 02, 2013 05:49PM

Gregory Lynn (Rock) Hard, is the proprietor of two Rock Hard Designs jewellery stores in the Panhandle. But to describe them as mere retail outlets would be a gross understatement. The unique shop and gallery in Pensacola, nationally acclaimed since 1975, affords its clientele the opportunity to observe the manufacturing of unique, award-winning designs in vintage, hand-engraved, abstract avant garde or sacred geometry styles, as well as extreme realism in nature.

The 8,000-square-foot store is a museum of paleontology and the evolution of ornament. Hard encourages school tours and lectures to the kids on pertinent topics. He inspires both students and clients by bringing out the deeper meaning in adornments produced by most ancient cultures versus the generic, meaningless styles mass-produced today under sweatshop conditions in Third-World countries.

The Grayton Beach location is recognized as most beautiful property on 30A; a recreation of painter Claude Monet’s Giverny estate. It has been featured in Southern and Coastal Living magazine, as well as France’s prestigious publication, Le Figaro. The magnificent grounds can be rented for weddings and special occasions, but Hard has a strong philanthropic streak, and has donated the space to such functions as a fundraiser for the Children’s Health Care Network.

A Pensacola native, Hard led a most interesting life of real adventure before becoming a jeweller in 1974. Precocious even as a small child, he enjoyed exploring and camping out, always choosing to play a Native American Indian in games with others kids. Later, his interests expanded to history and a fascination with the ancient world. From fossils in North Hill to Civil War munitions in Pensacola Harbor, Hard was always digging (or diving) around and often finding what to him were treasures.

Hitching across Europe broadened his horizons of culture and taste and college honed his creative skills. But it was philosophy that captured Hard’s true passion, because it allows him to combine his love of archaeology, history, science and art, as well as an inner expedition into the mind and higher realms, into a holistic gestalt in which all his interests are honored and none are neglected.

Now a designer of award-winning creations for royalty and celebrities of all stripes, Hard strives to put meaning beyond simple esthetics into each one. He relates, "Meaningful jewellery design is the most personal art form. For me, jewellery is an ancient totemic reflection of one’s belief system, guardians and allies." Hard believes that all the artifacts and treasures is his possession were destined to have found him for his stewardship.

In Hard’s award-winning signature line, Burning Water, his knowledge of fractal geometry, strange attractors and chaos theory relates to his designs. The influence of yoga, meditation and shamanic practices gained through his travels and journeys are all present in his work.

Even the rings he makes are unique, because they are not round. "Ergonomically designed, our unique soft square ring shapes are the true shapes of the human finger," he says.

"If your finger is round, you are an alien. Look at your fingers palm-up. Flat base and walls, with only a curved top."

For Hard, ergonomics is about not only how good the ring feels to wear and that is does not feel bulky or spin, but also how it feels spiritually to the wearer inside.

The rings are made in the USA, unlike most major brands that come from China, and are perfectly balanced, so they stand out in many ways. All are made from certified green metals and gems are obtained only from ethical sources. Hard works directly with one of the top precision diamond cutters in the world, S. Muller and Sons, in Belgium, so there is no middleman and brand names, not brokers to increase his prices. He also maintains one of the greatest colored gemstone collections around, including many exotics not usually seen for use in design.

Hard believes that custom work is his highest calling, making a piece that truly defines a client by working directly with them in a process of discovery. "My highly intuitive nature as an artist also picks up information on many levels," he explains. A model is made for approval before final casting, and he says. "My greatest reward is the happiness of a client when they receive the finished piece. Most frequently, they are thrilled by how much more they receive beyond expectations."

 

Locations: Grayton Beach, 100 E. Co. Hwy, 30A, Grayton Beach at Grayt Grounds Monet Monet (850-534-4534) and downtown Pensacola, 16 N. Palafox St. (850-438-5119).
For more information, call 800-662-3506 or visit
RockHardDesigns.com.

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