” Hatreds never cease with hatred in this world, only with love can they cease “
I descend upon an obscured and enchanted property during my last few hours in Byron Bay after a mind bending aura blast that is so customary for my time there.
Still, nothing prepared me for this…
Imagine a home that’s clandestine enough to roam with your imagination, yet still contained within a gallic style parameter. The life sized angel on the front patio is no big deal and neither is the disco ball so casually suspended from rustic wooden panels amidst a colonial lounge room. There’s Catholic iconography, numerous Buddhas, curious artefacts and ancient Chinese symbology amongst a melange of well-arranged collectibles – but perhaps this serves as a positive omen to matrimonial bliss, since numerous chic weddings have taken place on the romantic hillside property (I’m looking at you, Dan & Bambi). Basically, the home is such a contrast of reverence and contradiction that you don’t know if owner Giovanni D’Ercole is either highly esoteric or deeply ironic (as it turns out, a welcome mix of both).
But brunch and a browse through his hidden corners is not why I’m here (entirely). My mission is to learn about the mysterious Italian who, 30 years ago created LOVE & HATRED, a jewellery brand that is gothic, grand and iconic – yet stands for something bright and transcendent.
“I never tried to market it,” he says of his label’s organic and steady reach. “By me making beautiful pieces and having the intention of being a kind and loving human, it just happened through word of mouth. But the name came from that beautiful Buddha quote, Hatreds never cease by hatreds in this world … by love alone they cease – which to me means overcoming the dark to finding love and lightness within.”
Perhaps this is the reason why, if you mention that his jewels are a status item amongst the ‘cool set’, he will brush you off with an irritable (yet always charming) non-challance. Clearly, D’Ercole is a lot more focused on the meditative elements that belie his mystical creations. He lights up in dialogue about energy, healing and making art, priding himself on the careful cultivation of his own inner beingness that has formed the core of his personal meditation practice for over 30 years. His pieces seem to be a direct translation of that.
“I don’t call myself a healer but I do a lot of stuff like that, just sending energy, without telling anyone I’m doing it. When you’re on the path it’s very private and sometimes you’re compelled to help, but you don’t need to talk about it or advertise.”
How does he strike the balance between creativity and commerce?
“I’ve been fortunate to have my store, but I don’t care about money. This is my art.”
As my afternoon with him unravels, I am aware that a deeper story lurks behind his playful eyes, always moving and alert, yet regularly landing on his fiancee as he dances through his home in feather-light, unperceetable footsteps.
Together with his partner Miranda Chance, he has created his ‘Vampire castle’ – a retreat from busy life that provides not only the venue to some of the Bay’s most legendary parties, but as a crash pad for global and well-heeled friends who come to Byron Bay to recalibrate from far flung and fast living places.
But now it’s time to check out the collection…
Rings fit for kings in precious metals and stones, delicate bangles with a gothic twist, delicious drop earrings with Catholic insignia and symbolic pendants with healing powers make up numerous collections that bring a touch of creativity, magic and regal esoteric blessings in our lives. The pieces are regularly copied by modern designers, but D’Ercole and his team don’t give it much energy. Instead, Love & Hatred are focused on expand their operation to exclusively online – an exciting time for a label that is already globally known.
I mention that I can imagine Michael Hutchence wearing any one of the terrific scull-rich knuckle dusters, to which Giovanni of course replies that Hutchence was a friend. Still, rubbing shoulders with prominent creatives such as the legendary INXS frontman doesn’t seem to affect D’Ercole’s genuine authenticity or the delicate vulnerability with which he approaches his cause daily. It’s awe-inspiring to see that Gio’s success lies not only in his generosity and a keen ability to keep you on your wits, but with the clear cause behind his creative journey – spread love.
I love this brand because I’m into anything that can help us find more majesty and stands for ascending our spirits higher. If you’re looking to adorn yourself in something that holds both edge and refinement, you must add a little bit (or more) of LOVE & HATRED in your world.
images via Reviewed By Alina B and Love & Hatred.