Jewellery Impressed by What Was Beneath Their Toes

Jewelry Inspired by What Was Under Their Feet

The place can you discover two girls, each archaeologists, who independently determined to create jewellery strains impressed by their excavations?

In Athens, after all, the place the Acropolis dominates the cityscape and is a continuing reminder of historical past.

The jewellery created by the ladies — Stalo Karides who, together with her daughter, Maria-Alexia Karides, began Ysso (derived from chrysso, Greek for gold) and Polina Sapouna Ellis, whose one-woman enterprise carries her identify — bears no resemblance to memento retailers’ kitschy baubles, with evil eyes, beads and fake cash. As a substitute, these girls’s intimate information of what as soon as lay beneath their ft has been a subtler affect, protecting the spirit of antiquity alive of their creations whereas additionally interesting to up to date tastes.

Dr. Sapouna Ellis, 55, who was born in Germany, started engaged on digs when she was 10, serving to her uncle and aunt, the distinguished archaeologists Yannis Sakellarakis and Efi Sapouna-Sakellarakis. Their excavation of the Minoan palace of Archanes on Crete had a long-lasting influence on her. “The Minoan period was one of the most peaceful civilizations,” Dr. Sapouna Ellis mentioned. “People were respected for how spiritual they were, not how much money they had.”

After receiving her doctorate in archaeology from the College of Heidelberg in Germany in 1996, she moved to Athens and labored on a number of digs, all of the whereas nursing a want to create as a result of the jewellery she unearthed haunted her. “I’d see corpses wearing gold jewelry, and you’d realize the importance of jewelry to them. It was like a part of the body,” she mentioned. “Gold is precious; it’s durable. Gold is what survives.”

She started designing her personal jewellery in 2010, adapting the types and figures she had seen within the area to minimal, linear designs steeped in symbolism, and established her enterprise the subsequent yr. The items “tell a story,” she mentioned. “I want to educate.”

Items in her Minotavros assortment, for instance, have stylized representations of the horns on the Minotaur, the legendary creature with the pinnacle of a bull, whereas the parallel strains of the Mycenaean designs reference the folds in robes seen in historical statuary. “I try to connect to the past in a modern way,” Dr. Sapouna Ellis mentioned.

Dr. Sapouna Ellis’s designs vary from easy items, just like the silver Aetos Dios ring priced at 150 euros ($165), to advantageous jewellery, just like the handmade 18-karat white gold Syndesis necklace with 22 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 0.52 carats, priced at €10,400. She mentioned she most popular to work with white gold reasonably than yellow: “It doesn’t scream.”

Most of her items are produced by 4 artisans at Joolworks, a workshop simply blocks from the central Syntagma Sq. in Athens. Throughout a current go to, one artisan was utilizing a machine with a rotating wheel of bristles to create a matte floor on a gold bracelet. The end is a signature function of Polina Ellis jewellery and indicative of her philosophy: “I leave the inside shiny, but turn the outside matte. You don’t have to show off.”

That aesthetic is shared by Stalo Karides, who doesn’t need the jewellery she creates for Ysso to be excellent both. “When we excavate, we find designs that are not perfect,” she mentioned. “That imperfection moves me.”

She grew to become an archaeologist as a result of, whilst a toddler rising up in Cyprus, “I’ve always liked old things.” She was “fascinated by excavations” with their inherent “mystery of not knowing what you might find underneath.”

She went to France to pursue her research, incomes bachelor’s levels in each archaeology and historical past of artwork and a grasp’s in historical past, all from the College of Toulouse-Mirail within the Nineteen Seventies. She started engaged on a doctorate in archaeology, however whereas visiting her household, which had moved to Athens after Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974, she was provided a dream job. She deserted her research and started working for the Greek cultural ministry, organizing exhibitions on archaeology and dealing on digs on the island of Samos, within the japanese Aegean, and in Delphi. However one thing was lacking.

Jewellery had grabbed her creativeness and wouldn’t let go. “I admired my mother’s jewelry. She loved gold,” Ms. Karides mentioned. Earlier than the household moved to Athens, “my mother hid her jewelry in the closet, thinking she would come back for it one day” — however she by no means did.

After which, Ms. Karides mentioned, “I was in Samos working on cleaning underneath a paving stone when I found a small gold coin. Someone had hid it, this treasure, thinking they would come back to get it one day.”

For Ms. Karides, such conditions present why jewellery is full of emotion. So every single day, after ending her job, “I would go to a workshop and learn how to hand craft jewelry.”

Ms. Karides’s daughter, now 34, who goes by the identify Alexia, wore her mom’s creations to her personal job as a lawyer in London. “I would wear the jewelry, and friends would ask me where I got it,” she mentioned.

She began promoting items, after which “in 2017, I left the law firm; in 2019, I registered the business, and in 2020, we started trading.” Along with being Ysso’s chief govt, Alexia Karides additionally creates her personal designs, having spent a childhood going together with her mom to workshops, surrounded by jewellery.

The workshop that turns the Karideses’ designs into jewellery is in a quiet and leafy neighborhood on the outskirts of Athens. The atelier works with 50 firms, however, the proprietor, Christos Rizadis, mentioned, “the work we do for Ysso is completely different. They pay more attention to the way things were crafted in ancient Greece. And the design is different. Their jewelry doesn’t look like anything else I do.”

The imperfections that the mother-and-daughter staff love are purposely included into every bit. For instance, the Droplets earrings, primarily based on the form a bead of water makes when hitting a tough floor, have irregular perimeters — and clients could make their very own choices: Each earrings might be shiny, each textured or they are often purchased individually and worn as a mismatched pair.

A hoop of what appears to be like like coiled ribbon may, in different arms, be an ideal circle, however at Ysso it has irregular edges. “It wouldn’t be us if it was perfect,” Alexia Karides mentioned. All the jewellery has a bronze base and is double-plated, first with pure gold after which with 18-karat gold, to provide what she known as “a buttery gold hue,” and it sells for 90 to 450 kilos ($115 to $575).

The corporate has an archive of about 200 designs that might be reissued on demand, and the quantity retains rising. “I never stop sketching,” Stalo Karides mentioned. “I carry a notebook with me all the time. My life is creating these things. Let’s say I’m obsessed.”

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