Thursday, March 25, 2010
I was thumbing through a magazine from 1973 that had a feature on Greece, when this image caught my eye. Well, not the image so much. It was the necklace that grabbed my attention. Stunning, no? This sculptured silver butterfly with articulated wings is set with semi-precious stones and hangs from a plexiglass collar. It was designed and made by Ilias Lalaounis.
Turns out, Lalaouinis is quite the talented artist. He is a 4th generation jeweler who joined the family business in 1940. He studied ancient techniques for working with 18 and 22 karat gold. In the 1950s, he began designing jewelry based upon ancient Greek artifacts, and his career took off.
In 1969, Lalaounis left the family business to form his own company. He opened several stores on various Greek islands, as well as in cities throughout the world. Today, the company thrives and Ilias' daughter Maria has become the 5th generation jeweler in the family.
In 1993, Lalaounis opened the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum in Athens, Greece. Here you can see over 3000 pieces of jewelry designed by him throughout the last 60 years. It's well worth a stop if your travel plans include the Greek Isles.
If you'd like to see the current designs being offered by the Lalaounis company, take a look at their gorgeous website, and be prepared to drool.