The place can you discover two girls, each archaeologists, who independently determined to create jewellery traces impressed by their excavations?
In Athens, in fact, the place the Acropolis dominates the cityscape and is a continuing reminder of historical past.
The jewellery created by the ladies — Stalo Karides who, along with her daughter, Maria-Alexia Karides, began Ysso (derived from chrysso, Greek for gold) and Polina Sapouna Ellis, whose one-woman enterprise carries her title — 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 underneath their ft has been a subtler affect, retaining 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 outstanding archaeologists Yannis Sakellarakis and Efi Sapouna-Sakellarakis. Their excavation of the Minoan palace of Archanes on Crete had an enduring affect on her. “The Minoan interval was one of the crucial peaceable civilizations,” Dr. Sapouna Ellis mentioned. “Individuals had been revered for the way non secular they had been, not how a lot cash they’d.”
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 carrying gold jewellery, and also you’d understand the significance of jewellery to them. It was like part of the physique,” she mentioned. “Gold is treasured; it’s sturdy. Gold is what survives.”
She started designing her personal jewellery in 2010, adapting the kinds and figures she had seen within the discipline to minimal, linear designs steeped in symbolism, and established her enterprise the following yr. The items “inform a narrative,” she mentioned. “I wish 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 traces of the Mycenaean designs reference the folds in robes seen in historic statuary. “I attempt to connect with the previous in a contemporary means,” 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 wonderful 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 well-liked to work with white gold quite 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 depart the within shiny, however flip the surface matte. You don’t have to point out off.”
That aesthetic is shared by Stalo Karides, who doesn’t need the jewellery she creates for Ysso to be excellent both. “Once we excavate, we discover designs that aren’t excellent,” she mentioned. “That imperfection strikes me.”
She turned an archaeologist as a result of, at the same time as a baby rising up in Cyprus, “I’ve at all times appreciated previous issues.” She was “fascinated by excavations” with their inherent “thriller of not understanding what you would possibly discover beneath.”
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 supplied 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 mom’s jewellery. She beloved gold,” Ms. Karides mentioned. Earlier than the household moved to Athens, “my mom hid her jewellery within the closet, considering she would come again for it at some point” — however she by no means did.
After which, Ms. Karides mentioned, “I used to be in Samos engaged on cleansing beneath a paving stone when I discovered a small gold coin. Somebody had hid it, this treasure, considering they might come again to get it at some point.”
For Ms. Karides, such conditions present why jewellery is filled with emotion. So daily, after ending her job, “I might go to a workshop and learn to hand craft jewellery.”
Ms. Karides’s daughter, now 34, who goes by the title Alexia, wore her mom’s creations to her personal job as a lawyer in London. “I might put on the jewellery, and mates would ask me the place I acquired it,” she mentioned.
She began promoting items, after which “in 2017, I left the regulation agency; in 2019, I registered the enterprise, and in 2020, we began buying and selling.” Along with being Ysso’s chief govt, Alexia Karides additionally creates her personal designs, having spent a childhood going along 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 totally completely different. They pay extra consideration to the best way issues had been crafted in historic Greece. And the design is completely different. Their jewellery doesn’t seem like the rest I do.”
The imperfections that the mother-and-daughter staff love are purposely included into each bit. For instance, the Droplets earrings, based mostly on the form a bead of water makes when hitting a tough floor, have irregular perimeters — and prospects could make their very own picks: Each earrings may be shiny, each textured or they are often purchased individually and worn as a mismatched pair.
A hoop of what appears like coiled ribbon would possibly, in different arms, be an ideal circle, however at Ysso it has irregular edges. “It wouldn’t be us if it was excellent,” 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 supply what she referred to 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 could possibly be reissued on demand, and the quantity retains rising. “I by no means cease sketching,” Stalo Karides mentioned. “I carry a pocket book with me on a regular basis. My life is creating these items. Let’s say I’m obsessed.”