Q&A: Joanna Hardy

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Joanna Hardy is the well known jewellery personality behind the Antiques Roadshow, but she has built her 30 year career in jewellery from the rough diamond valuing tables at De Beers to the heights of premier auction houses, latterly Sotheby’s in Bond Street.

Previously having worked at Philips the auctioneers, Joanna has also worked in Antwerp, and has been responsible for jewellery auctions worldwide in New York, Geneva and London.

She is also a published author on specialist jewellery tomes with Thames & Hudson and has recently launched an educational online Jewellery Foundation Course. 

Joanna now is an independent fine jewellery specialist who conducts international masterclasses and lectures, curates contemporary jewellery selling exhibitions, and is an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Freeman of the City of London, and a recently appointed Liveryman and Court Assistant of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. She answers the Benchpeg Q&A...

What’s your name, and what do you for a living?

JH: My name is Joanna Hardy and I am an Independent Fine Jewellery Specialist. I write articles, books, present on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, conduct masterclasses and lecture, I advise on collecting jewellery for private clients and have launched my Online Foundation Jewellery Course with Learning with Experts which I am very excited about.    

How did you come to work in the jewellery industry?

JH: I made jewellery when I was at school and then I was hooked and went to London to Sir John Cass College to train to be a goldsmith. I worked in Hatton Garden at the weekends and then got a job with De Beers valuing and grading rough diamonds before becoming a diamond dealer in Antwerp, then I worked for Philips the Auctioneers and finally for Sotheby’s for 14 years before setting out on my own nearly 10 years ago.

How would you describe your work to someone who doesn’t know it?

JH: I like to think that I am an ambassador for the jewellery industry.

Where do you love to shop?

JH: I am not a keen shopper as I find it takes up too much time, so I do most of my shopping either online or make use of the airport shops when I am travelling.

What is your inspiration?

JH: Seeing the sun rise every morning, never taking life for granted.

What piece of jewellery do you most treasure?

JH: My ruby earstud because I bought the ruby rough in Mogok, Myanmar then had it cut in Mogok. It represents for me the essence of the jewellery industry, nature, skill, craftsmanship, personal relationships and the journey we are all on.

What piece of jewellery do you most desire?

JH: I appreciate so many different types of jewellery it would be hard to choose.  

Is there a seminal book or a favourite read that you have?

JH: I recently read 'Pearls Before Poppies’ by Rachel Kiddey it is about the First World War and how the Red Cross orchestrated an auction selling pearls that had been donated by everyone effected by the war to support the few solders that managed to return home. Very moving...  

Is there a particular tune, song or soundtrack to your life?

JH: I often think what I would choose for my desert island discs but the list keeps changing. Music is so important to me, I could trace my life through music. My father had a juke box business and as a very young girl my holiday job was going around with the reps collecting money from the machines and I would be given the records that had come off the charts, the tune that will always remind me of this period is Black Betty by Ram Jam.

If you could only be remembered for one thing in your working life, what would it be?

JH: That’s a hard question, as I like to think I am still creating work, ask me in another 10 years ! Writing my book ‘Ruby’ was pretty special. I am also very honoured to have recently been made a Court Assistant for the Goldsmiths' Company. 

The Benchpeg Proust Q&A

  1. What’s your favourite work of art?
    JH: Blimey that’s a difficult question, my daughter’s art is pretty good! I like photography and I admire Ruud Van Empel.

  2. Who from past or present would you invite to a dinner party for the evening?

    JH: Terry Wogan, Millicent Fawcett, Marianne North, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Barak Obama and David Attenborough.

  3. Do you have any pets, if yes, what is their name?
    JH: None yet, but I do plan to get a dog one day.

  4. What is your most treasured possession?

    JH: My juke box.

  5. What would you consider a perfect day?

    JH: Sitting by a camp fire under the stars, a glass of wine in hand with my family.

  6. Is there a favourite journey, trip or voyage you hold dear?
    JH: Riding Apache horses through Monument Valley, USA at sunset with my family, that was pretty awesome as well as us all visiting a remote island off the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island, where we swam with manta rays and where I nearly ended up riding a hump back whale by accident! (I do have a close up photo of the whale!)    

  7. What is your greatest achievement?

    JH: I know it's a cliche but my two children.

  8. What advice would tell your younger self?

    JH: Just keep listening and trusting your inner voice and everything will be ok.

  9. Can you sum yourself up in one word?
    JH: Determined.

  10. What motto do you live by?

    JH: Be true to yourself and others and never give up. 


Joanna Hardy can be found at:





Her course details can be found here




Rebecca van Rooijen


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