As a nation that has been producing skilfully made adornments for thousands of years, Greece seems a fitting inspiration for a luxury jewellery brand. And just as the Hellenistic period of ancient Greek history saw master goldsmiths breaking ground in the world of jewellery, today’s designers are doing the same. Offering everything from classic styles to unexpected contemporary shapes, Greece’s leading jewellery designers are some of the most innovative and exciting brands in the world today.
‘Elements of ancient Greece – the art, architecture, history and mythology – are etched into my soul,’ says Greek jewellery designer Konstantino Sioulas, whose eponymous label is a homage to the rich heritage of his homeland. His timeless creations take inspiration from myriad characteristics of Greece and its past. The fiery spirit of the mythical Electra, princess of Argos, is captured by the bold blue of lapis lazuli stones, set into bracelets and rings. The multifaceted talents of Orpheus, the legendary musician and poet, are reflected in the contrast of fluid and geometric lines in intricately carved cufflinks.
Like Konstantino, long-established jewellery house Zolotas also takes inspiration from the heritage of Greece, specifically from what the brand calls the ‘glory of Hellenism’. Zolotas has been successful ever since its launch in 1895 but the brand entered a new phase in the 1960s when, bolstered by an exclusive cooperation with the archaeological museums of Greece, it began to incorporate ancient motifs into its designs. Icons such as the Lion Gate of Mycenae and the Vergina Sun were reimagined as stunning jewellery that captured the imagination of the elite.
Direct inspiration from ancient Greece endures at Zolotas. This is most notable in its Heritage collection, which continues to use mythical motifs to create outstanding high jewellery. Yet even in its most modern pieces, such as the minimalist, modernist New Spirit line, respect for the distant origins of Greek culture is at the heart of every design.
Katerina Ioannidis is also inspired by Greek heritage, and she combines these influences with those from other nations, presenting a jewellery style she describes as ‘bohemian luxury’. This concept is played out, she explains, in the combination of precious metals and stones with ‘everyday objects such as nylon fibres, feathers and silk threads’. Signature lines include the Flouria collection, which features chains of gold and silver discs to cleverly suggest both the ancient and the modern; and the Greek Tsarouhi collection, comprising little pendants in the shape of tsarouhi – traditional Greek shoes – finished with tiny pompoms.
Nikos Koulis describes his jewellery as ‘unconventional in the inception, intricate in the details, classic in terms of quality and value.’ Coming from a family of established Greek jewellers, Koulis has an approach that balances respect for heritage and craft with a striking contemporary aesthetic. A trained gemmologist, Koulis is known for his bold use of exceptional-quality stones. His award-winning Oui collection comprises rings, pendants and earrings, and features white and yellow diamonds combined with bright emeralds and deep-black enamel. ‘The Oui collection was a revelation for me,’ he says. Explore this constantly expanding signature range at the brand’s flagship store in Athens.
Another must-visit boutique in Athens is the flagship of Angelo di Spirito Rosa, in the exclusive neighbourhood of Kifisia. A glass façade entices visitors into the modern space and interiors are characterised by the use of sheet metal, glass and futuristic lighting. Most striking of all is the display method that has become the brand’s signature: each piece of jewellery is presented in an artfully labelled and stoppered vintage-style glass bottle.
This unique method of packaging is designed to reflect the spirit of the brand, which has won awards for its unconventional, feminine, simple and elegant jewellery. ‘Angelo di Spirito Rosa is the only brand where one can find jewellery for the whole body, from necklaces, earrings and bracelets to body and hair jewellery,’ explains marketing manager Semina Perperidou. In the tradition of its ancient counterparts, this is a brand pushing the boundaries of what jewellery can be.
For seasoned designer Yannis Sergakis, experimentation works best when grounded in the classics. In his case, this means sticking to tried-and-tested materials and experimenting instead with form and function. ‘We work exclusively with gold – the everlasting guarantee of value – and diamonds, the most precious of stones,’ he explains, describing his eponymous label. The signature Yannis Sergakis style is delicate and intricate. ‘Our creations are grown-up, sophisticated, desirable,’ says the designer. Though he struggles to pick one creation as his favourite, he feels the Charnières line from the Commitment collection ‘encompasses all these elements’.
With high-calibre designers producing exciting pieces in both classic and contemporary styles, there’s never been a better time to discover Greece’s jewellery scene.