HomeDIY CraftJewelry Inspired by What Was Under Their Feet

Jewelry Inspired by What Was Under Their Feet


Where can you find two women, both archaeologists, who independently decided to create a jewelery series inspired by their own excavations?

In Athens, of course, where the Acropolis dominates the cityscape and is a constant reminder of history.

Women-made jewelry – Stalo Karides, who started Yesso (derived from chryso, Greek for gold), with her daughter, Maria-Alexia Karides, and Polina Sapouna Ellis, whose one-woman business is named after her – Souvenir There is no resemblance to the shoddy items from shops with evil eyes, pearls and fake coins. Instead, these women’s intimate knowledge of what lay beneath their feet has been a subtle influence, allowing their creations to keep alive the spirit of antiquity while at the same time appealing to contemporary tastes.

Dr. Sapouna Ellis, 55, who was born in Germany, began excavations when she was 10 years old, helping her uncle and aunt, prominent archaeologists Yannis Sakelarkis and Effie Sapouna-Sakelarakis. His excavation of the Minoan palace at Arcanes on Crete had a lasting impact on him. Dr. Sapouna Ellis said, “The Minoan period was one of the most peaceful civilizations.” “People were respected for how spiritual they were, not how much money they had.”

After receiving her doctorate in archeology from the University of Heidelberg in Germany in 1996, she moved to Athens and worked on several excavations, wanting to create something during which she was intrigued by the excavated jewellery. “I would have seen corpses wearing gold ornaments, and you would realize the importance of ornaments to them. It was like a part of the body,” she said. “Gold is precious; It is durable. Only gold survives.

She began designing her own jewelry in 2010, adapting the forms and shapes she saw in the area into minimalist, linear designs steeped in symbolism, and set up her business the following year. That said, the pieces “tell a story”. “I want to educate.”

For example, pieces from his Minotauros collection feature stylized depictions of the horns of the bull-headed mythical creature the Minotaur, while the parallel lines of the Mycenaean design reference the folds in gowns seen in ancient statuary. Dr. Sapouna Ellis said, “I try to connect with the past in a modern way.”

Dr. Sapona Ellis’s designs range from simple pieces such as the 150 euro ($165) silver Atos Dios ring to fine jewelry such as the handmade 18-karat white gold Sindisis necklace with 22 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 0.52 carats Are engaged, have a price. €10,400. She said she prefers working with white gold rather than yellow gold: “It doesn’t scream.”

Most of his artworks are produced by four artisans at Julworks, a workshop located just off the central Syntagma Square in Athens. During a recent visit, an artisan was using a machine with a rotating wheel of bristles to create a matte surface on a gold bracelet. The finish is a distinctive feature of Polina Ellis’ jewelry and is indicative of her philosophy: “I leave the inside shiny, but the outside matte. You don’t need to show off.”

That aesthetic is shared by Stallo Karides, who doesn’t want the jewelry she makes for Ysso to be too perfect. “When we dig, we find designs that are not perfect,” he said. “That imperfection inspires me.”

She became an archaeologist because, even as a child growing up in Cyprus, “I always liked old things.” She was “fascinated” by the digging, with the underlying “mystery of not knowing what you might find down there.”

She moved to France to further her studies and earned both a bachelor’s degree in archeology and art history and a master’s degree in history from the University of Toulouse-Mirail in the 1970s. He began working on a doctorate in archaeology, but while visiting his family, who had moved to Athens following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, he was offered a dream job. He abandoned his studies and began working for the Greek Ministry of Culture, organizing exhibitions on archeology and carrying out excavations on the island of Samos in the eastern Aegean and at Delphi. But there was something missing.

The jewelery had captured her imagination and would not let go. “I admired my mother’s jewellery. He loved sleeping,” Ms. Carrides said. Before the family moved to Athens, “my mother hid her jewelry in the closet, thinking she would come back one day”—but she never did.

And then, Ms. Carides said, “I was cleaning under a paving stone in Samos, when I found a small gold coin. Somebody hid it, this treasure, thinking they would come back one day to get it.”

For Ms. Karides, situations like these show why jewelry is full of emotion. So every day, after I finished my work, “I went to a workshop and learned to make jewelry by hand.”

Ms Carides’ daughter, now 34, known as Alexia, used to wear her mother’s creations to her job as a lawyer in London. “I would wear jewelry and friends would ask me where I got it,” she said.

He started selling things, and then “In 2017, I left the law firm; In 2019, I registered the business and in 2020, we started the business. In addition to being the chief executive of Ysso, Alexia Karides also creates her own designs, having spent her childhood in her mother’s workshops surrounded by jewellery.

The workshop that transforms Carides’ designs into jewelry is in a quiet and green area on the outskirts of Athens. The atelier works with 50 companies, but the owner, Christos Rizadis, said, “The work we do for Ysso is completely different. They focus more on the way things were made in ancient Greece. And The design is different. Her jewelery doesn’t look like my other jewellery.

The imperfections that the mother-daughter team love are intentionally incorporated into each piece. For example, the Droplets earrings have irregular contours based on the shape a water particle makes when it hits a hard surface – and customers can take their pick: both earrings can be shiny, both can be textured Or they can be bought and worn individually as a mismatched pair.

A ring that looks like coiled ribbon may, in other hands, be a perfect circle, but in Ysso it has jagged edges. “If it were true it wouldn’t be us,” Alexia Carrides said. All the jewelery has a bronze base and is double-plated, first with 24-karat gold and then with 18-karat gold, which she calls a “butter gold colour”, and ranges from 90 to 450 pounds ( sold from $115). $575).

The company has a collection of approximately 200 designs that can be reissued on demand, and that number continues to grow. Stalo Carrides said, “I never stop sketching.” “I carry a notebook with me at all times. My life is building these things. Guess I’m obsessed.”



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