Kokkino Limanaki Beach in Greece is a quiet, clean area located in a creek near the town of Rafina. Literally translated the beach's name means `Little Red Harbour,' referencing the red color of the surrounding cliffs. Greece is also the home of featured jewelry designer Ilias Lalaounis.
A veteran jeweler, 89-year-old Lalaounis has an illustrious career. His love of nature, science, and the ancient civilizations of Europe, including Greece, Asia, and the Americas highly influence his exquisite designs.
A fourth generation jewelry artist, Lalaounis began his career in his 20s overseeing his family's jewelry business, Zolotas.
Constantly looking to expand his jewelry making knowledge, he studied ancient goldsmith techniques such as granulation; the process of crystallizing balls of gold; repoussé, the process of pressing designs into metal; and filigree.
Ten years later, having mastered the techniques, Lalaounis created jewelry reminiscent of centuries-old antiquities from various ancient civilizations.
Within another 10 years, he and his team of artisans, embarked on a full-fledged revival of Greek jewelry by reinventing ancient designs.
In the years to follow, Lalaounis renamed the company Greek Gold-Ilias Lalaounis S.A., and his diverse, exhaustive design approach resulted in thousands of incredible, distinctive designs.
In the early 90s, Lalaounis moved the company's workshops to a newly renovated facility that would also contain a jewelry museum--the only one of its kind in the world--founded by, and named for, Lalaounis.
To date, the museum houses Lalaounis' astonishing collection of 4,000 pieces of gold cuff bracelets, gold necklaces, earrings and micro sculptures. The museum offers educational programs on the art of goldsmithing, annual cultural activities, jewelry design programs, exhibitions, and a children's theater. Accordingly, Lalaounis is the only jeweler elected a member of the French Academy of Fine Arts.
Hollywood has also taken notice of this amazing jeweler. Actor Charlize Theron wore elegant pieces from his collections in the 2008 feature film Hancock.
The selection of Lalaounis' ethereal pieces is so fitting being that Theron's character possessed god-like powers. Lalaounis' fabulous 18-, 20-, and 22-karat gold jewelry is sold around the world in London, Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and his New York store, Tresor.
Lalaounis' daughters, Katerini, Demetra, Ioanna, and Maria, continue the family tradition by assisting in administrative duties for both the company and the museum. Maria in particular develops new jewelry collections.
Photo 1 (top right): Gold Cuff Bracelet from Africa-Nubia Collection
Photo 2 (center): Gold Necklace from Classical and Hellenistic Collection
Photo 3 (bottom left): Gold Ring from Mincan and Myceneaean Collection