Local jewelry scene shows character for Christmas

‘This the season to sparkle and local talent is here to lend a golden hand. With jewelry being one of the country’s hottest creative scenes, there’s never a shortage of diamonds and pearls. Besides Athens’s so-called Diamond Row on Voukourestiou Street – where imposing Greek jewelry meets global luxury brands – the real treat is that an increasing number of designers are blazing their own trail, coming up with exciting pieces reflecting different aesthetic directions. Also, don’t forget that most jewelry shops – together with museums and galleries – currently have their own seasonal lucky charms celebrating the arrival of the New Year. Lina Fanourakis has a way with gold. She turns it into lace, cobwebs as well as tiny mosquitoes, flies and butterflies. At the house of Fanourakis, the designer’s passion for rose-cut diamonds creates refined mosaics, while this season, look out for exceptional craftsmanship in a new flower collection. (23 Patriarchou Ioacheim, Kolonaki, tel 210.721.1762; 2 Evangelistrias, Monastiraki, tel 210.324.6642; 6 Panagitsas, Kifissia, tel 210.623.2334-5.) Elena Votsi’s pieces never go unnoticed. Whether bulky rings or necklaces, they are often smaller or bigger sculptures, featuring big balls of gold, chunks of semi-precious stones – from colorful quartz to amber and aquamarine – as well as pebbles on cuff links. (7 Xanthou, Kolonaki, 210.360.0936.) Minute precious stones on pave settings is one of two, principal stories at Ileana Makri’s Mageia. The other has to do with the designer’s love for giving signs and symbols a precious twist. (Mageia, 18 Haritos, Kolonaki, tel 210.724.0697.) True to tradition, at the Eleni Marneri Gallery, it’s all about creative, artistic jewelry. This season, both owner and participants are building on a healthy appetite. «Sweet» is the title of the current exhibition, featuring the work of various artists, including Dimitris Dassios, Katerina Psoma, Isavella Metaxa, B-612 and Costoula Kotroni. It’s an innovative attempt that takes a look at how edible delicacies inspire the world of art and design. (3 Agathoupoleos, tel 210.866.8195. Show runs to January 31, 2005.) The work of Pierretta Lorenzatou – whose items are also on sale at the Benaki museums – is a reminder that finesse is still very much part of this world. Using the finest slices of gold, the designer builds on both precious and semi-precious stones to create delicate pieces reflecting her own take on architecture, geometry and nature. (15 Argyropoulou, Kifissia, tel 210.808.1360. Opening hours, Monday to Friday from noon to 5 p.m.) Using yellow and white gold as well as silver – often oxidized – Alexandros Tsorbatzis offers three exciting collections. «Symmetry» suggests Bauhaus influences with industrial touches, while the «Organic» collection takes forms from nature. «Entropy,» on the other hand, explores aerodynamic measurements of disorder in a closed system. (27 Anagnostopoulou, Kolonaki, tel 210.362.8528.) Kaiti Tazedakis is inspired by nature and her native land, while stories from antiquity often accompany her highly personal pieces on display at her Petradi Gallery. While the designer works with a variety of metals, she does have a penchant for bronze. (Petradi Gallery, 15 Dimokritou, Kolonaki, tel 210.361.2780.)