Orit Elhanati tells us about her new Black Orchid jewellery collection

Known for melding influences from around the globe, Orit Elhanati talks about the inspirations that shaped her new collection

By Joshua Hendren

Orit Elhanati is a dreamweaver. With her unique blend of mystery and sensual opulence, her minimalist gems tap into feelings of love and family, weaving an emotional journey in organic, twisted shapes of fluid 18K gold.

The classically-trained goldsmith founded her eponymous jewellery line in 2012. Fusing her Middle Eastern roots and Nordic influences, the Copenhagen-based designer has honed in on raw, sculptural and mesmerising creations for men and women and, in doing so, has carved out a niche in jewellery that feels new and utterly cool. “When building the jewellery for me, they are like miniature sculptures. There are so many layers you have to build,” she tells us of her creative process. “The gold needs to tell a story, so I use my hammer.”

Here, the jeweller discusses the mood and inspirations behind her newest collection, Black Orchid. Like the name suggests, these jewels are not for the faint of heart, yet those who covet their beauty will be met with daring creativity and the finest craftsmanship.

Let’s begin by discussing your new Black Orchid collection – what was the inspiration?

With Black Orchid, my mood was highly influenced by the old Parisienne Bohemian Era, the old Noir movies, Italian movies. They have been in the back of my mind since I started making Small Worlds, taking me back to the streets of Palermo, the streets of Paris. You will see that in Black Orchid – the old movement of strong women, with a mysterious glare. I wanted to create something very powerful.

The Elhanati woman and the Elhanati man are strong characters, with a high aesthetic appeal and an appreciation for the unique things in life. They have a voice and use it. They have a dream and fulfil it. They aim for the unreachable and make it reachable. They stand out. The Elhanati woman for me is strong, has a voice and uses it, she balances the feminine and the masculine and is confident, yet humble in her approach in life.

What are some of the favourite pieces from this latest release?

I love the larger necklaces; the spikey black Monument and black velvet heart Dita necklace are the ones I wear at the moment. I like to layer them, working in the thin layers on the top and mixing them with gold.

For Black Orchid, you worked exclusively with yellow gold and black spinel – what was the motive behind this?

I have worked with black spinels since I started. There is something mysterious that draws you in when you look at it. The black heart from the collection is hand cut in a way where the light plays completely different from some of the necklaces in the collection. I love that balance of play in the jewellery. There is something powerful about the stone, it oozes brilliance. It is believed the stone is empowering, and I feel that when working with it. When you mix these black spinels in with the warm gold colours something magical happens. It is the perfect balance to me.

What is your earliest memory of jewellery?

It was always my birthday when I was in Israel. My grandmother would invite all the children from the neighbourhood, and they would come to celebrate with me. They would put a flower bead on my head, and we would dance around the streets. I clearly remember how her friends would also come over, I think it was a shock to see a woman wear so much gold at once. But today I use these Middle Eastern memories to create my own jewellery and try to fuse it with a clean Nordic minimalism.

How would you describe Elhanati’s signature look?

I do not believe in perfection. When I design, I always have a playful approach. I love playing with the gold, taking it apart and reassembling it again. Each piece I create is unique, and the design evolves when I am working on it in the atelier. I play with the hammering, dripping, and burning, until it expresses an organic feel, shape and balance I fall in love with.

And finally, what ambitions do you have for the brand in the future?

I love creating and for me the achievement lies in seeing my chaotic thoughts become something tangible. I see Elhanati as a house that keeps evolving and we already have some exciting projects in the pipeline that I cannot wait to share with you. It is important for me to make a difference with my creations. I want to show my jewellery to the world and promote the multicultural and artistic approach internationally. I want to be able to stick to our initial values that we have built as we grow. This balance is important to me, both when it comes to production, but also the very backbone of our DNA.

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