Jewelry Designer Finds Inspiration Rooted in Personal Tragedy

By Kelly Ervine
Special Contributor

Britt Harless
Britt Harless

Britt Harless sees her jewelry as a chance to turn the most devastating circumstances into something beautiful.

Two years ago, Harless’s best friend died suddenly, leaving behind Harless’s two teenage goddaughters. Her father had a second stroke, and she became his main caregiver. Then her 9-year old dog got cancer and died.

The Park Cities resident didn’t just feel sad — she felt helpless.

When Harless was at her lowest, she would go outside and study the oak trees in her backyard. Nature was a balm to her soul as she studied the curves of the bare trees in the deepest Dallas winter.

“The ebbs and flows of branches knotting in different directions were so gorgeous. I started paying more attention to the natural patterns and textures all around me, and it turned my heart to more hopeful, positive thinking,” Harless said. “Even when the trees were bare, they still represented strength, nurture, protection, and resilience. Their stoic, imperfect beauty was stunning. Inspired by their message of annual renewal, I started to sketch again, and once I started I couldn’t stop. I found my way back to a central creative passion that I had left behind years ago, and that led to BAHZ.”

The collection that sprouted from those sketches is an artistic interpretation of both the oak trees in her yard and the driftwood branches Harless’s mother would collect when she was growing up.

The BAHZ debut collection is called “Winter Branches in Bastille,” a name that springs from Harless’s French roots, which her family brought with them when they were one of the first 100 European settlers in Texas. Bastille is a prison and site of revolution, and Harless wanted a collection name that reflected the way nature set her free. Each handcrafted piece is named for a street around the prison monument in Bastille.

The collection evolved from Harless’s previous work in jewelry design, and she felt it was revolutionary enough to demand a rebranding of her company from beadwork-based Bohem Unique Gems to BAHZ, which is named for her initials, a high-end line of precious metals and semiprecious stones. The brand combines traditional design techniques with innovative production technologies such as 3D printed molds.

“Every piece is truly special,” Harless said. “I designed each one to make the person who wears it feel especially beautiful while expressing their individualism, diversity, and authenticity.”

The collection is made with .925 sterling silver, bronze, or 14-karat gold plates. Prices range from $250 to $825, with availability in upscale boutiques and at trunk shows.

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