© Written by Rachael Taylor for JewelleryNetAsia
At BaselWorld this year there was a small corner of the show dedicated to emerging jewellers from Greece, and it is a country that is proving to be very interesting in terms of jewellery design right now.
Greece has a long and rich jewellery history that stretches back thousands of years, but in modern times it has not been as well known for its jewellers as other European countries such as the UK or Italy. However, with a fresh raft of talented designers clustering around Athens and winning prestigious stockists all over the globe, this could be set to change.
There is a huge pool of jewellery talent in Greece that is worth investigating, but to start your introduction to the country’s new wave of jewellers I’ve selected five fine jewellery brands to check out for a taste of what’s on offer.
1. Elena Votsi
This award-winning jeweller studied painting and mosaics at Athens School of Fine Arts before heading to the Royal College of Art in London to study metalwork and jewellery. She then went to work for Gucci and Ralph Lauren before setting up her own brand. Votsi works exclusively in gold and her designs take inspiration from Hydra, the remote, car-free Greek island on which she grew up and now works. Her jewellery is stocked at Net-a-Porter and Bergdorf Goodman.
2. Ileana Makri
This globetrotting designer studied jewellery at the GIA in Santa Monica before moving back to Greece to set up her brand, which specialises in feminine, rock chick-inspired fine jewels made with traditional craftsmanship techniques. Makri is constantly travelling and so her designs reflect a multicultural worldview. Her work is stocked all over the globe including at Dover Street Market in London, Colette in Paris and Barneys in New York, and as well as designing for an A-list clientele she also collaborates regularly with other designers, including a recent partnership with fashion house Marios Schwab.
This Greek jewellery brand describes itself as a “peek-a-boo treat between nouveau vintage and modernity”. Its bold work includes jewellery crafted around preserved scarab beetles, coloured gemstone cocktail rings with honeycomb settings and a pair of earrings decorated with enamel eyes hand-painted by a Russian iconographer. It has a boutique in Athens as well as stockists round the world including Harvey Nichols in Azerbaijan, Luisa Via Roma in Rome and Galerie BSL in Paris.
4. Aparte Jewellery
This brand is the brainchild of designer Michael Pelamidis, who is of Greek descent but was brought up in Paris where he studied at the prestigious Chambre Syndicale De La Haute Joaillerie De Paris. Pelamidis runs the brand with Laetitia Charriaud, and they claim that at the heart of all they do are the women who will wear their jewellery. The jewels have a distinct tribal feel and incorporate natural elements such as shells, crab claws and sea urchins, as well as gemstones including ornaline, azurite, phrenite, moon stone, iolite, sodalite, amethyst, bi-coloured quartz and howlite.
5. Nikos Koulis
This Athens designer brings a real theatrical element to his sculptural, intricate and often colourful jewels, which have an effortless cool factor. While they are probably the most fashion-forward on this list, Koulis maintains that he tries to “think beyond the boundaries of fashion” to make sure that his jewels have a long-lasting appeal. He has built up an impressive celebrity following and counts the London’s Matches, New York’s Bergdorf Goodman, Moscow’s Tsum and Dubai’s Bloomingdale’s amongst his stockists.
This article was originally published on JewelleryNetAsia on 03.06.15. I write a weekly column for this website about global jewellery trends.