CULTURE

The lucky charms for 2003 inspire peace and unity

As family and friends gather round the vassilopita (New Year’s cake) once again this year, the hunt is on for the traditional Greek good-luck charm, known as the gouri. Whether inspired by antiquity, folk tradition or nature, these end-of-the-year amulets are designed by an array of local artists, jewelers and designers. A replica of a Byzantine coin depicting Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus is this year’s lucky charm at the Benaki Museum. Also available at the museum’s gift shop is a selection of small jewelry portraying birds and turtles, among others. (Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari, tel 210.367.1000). Symbolizing the family and its security, a small house becomes this year’s lucky charm at the Greek Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA). A reproduction of a mansion in the Greek province, it expresses wishes for health, love and happiness. (ELIA, 5 Aghiou Andreou, tel 210.325.0578, also for credit card orders. It is also available at the Benaki Museum gift shop). For celebrated Greek jeweler Ilias Lalaounis, the new year enters in full strength, with an amulet depicting a fearless Hercules taming two lions – inspired by a Mycenean cameo. It is available in gold, silver and a combination of the two metals at all Lalaounis outlets and selling points, as well as the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum. (Ilias Lalaounis, 6 Panepistimiou & Voukourestiou, tel 210.362.2731). Prominent Athenian jeweler Costas Kessaris is presenting a selection of lucky charm designs, including a delicate snowflake in gold as well as a New Year’s bracelet, available in gold or white gold. (Kessaris Jewelers, 7 Panepistimiou & Voukourestiou, tel 210.331.0760). Renewal and fortune At Zolotas Jewelers the choice is between gold and silver. On the one hand there is a gold charm inspired by a Minoan motif symbolizing the cycle of renewal and fortune, while on the other, there is a silver amulet in the shape of a spiral, a symbol of eternity in ancient Greece. (Zolotas Jewelers, 9 Stadiou, tel 210.322.1222). The Zoumboulakis Gallery join forces with the Athens Concert Hall once again this year, to present the annual amulet – which is also available at Papasotiriou bookstores. A double-faced piece, it combines artist Nikos Nikolaou’s «The Dove of Peace» on one side, with wreaths designed by Yiannis Gourzis on the other. (Athens Concert Hall, Vas. Sofias & 1 Kokkali, tel 210.728.2333; Zoumboulakis Gallery, 20 Kolonaki Square, tel 210.360.8276). At Maramenos & Pateras, it seems that the New Year’s resolution is all about making time for oneself, whether it involves the desire to travel or just to feel carefree like a dolphin. Available in gold and silver, or just silver, the gouri’s use of semi-precious chaolite to depict the Greek sea adds a creative twist. The jewelry firm has also designed the Mediterranean Association to the Save the Sea Turtles’ (Medasset) good-luck charm. A sea turtle, it is available in silver and features a semi-precious stone. (Maramenos & Pateras, 30 Mitropoleos, tel 210.322.3414). Meanwhile, a series of well-crafted golden crabs are taking over at Fanourakis, home of the stunning jewelry pieces designed by Lina Fanouraki. (Fanourakis, 23 Patriarchou Ioakeim, tel 210.721.1762). At Elena Votsi, the 2003 good-luck charm stands next to the young designer’s rough, chunky necklaces made of aquamarines, amethysts or even smoky quartz. A small, minimalist cube to be found inside a little bottle, it is available in both gold and silver. (Elena Votsi, 7 Xanthou, tel 210.360.0936). Kaiti Tazedaki’s lucky charm comes from the sea this year, in the form of the sea horse. Considered a sing of good luck since antiquity, Tazedaki’s version adds an olive branch, thus mixing good fortune with a message for peace. (To Petradi Gallery, 15 Dimokritou, tel 210.361.2780).