Was jewelry love at first sight or was it pre-arranged in your career path? Unveil your story about your first meeting with jewelry?
To be honest, it happened by accident. I had just finished my studies in Tourism Management and was looking to start something else that would keep me on my feet and help me avoid being stagnant. One of my friends was taking silversmithing and goldsmithing courses at a local faculty and I decided to join them. Three months later, I had my first exhibition and quite immediately I found my own stockists in my home town. The rest is history!
Despite that your collections are different between each other, minimalism is their common element. What is the concept of your whole brand?
I think versatility is one of the most important aspects of my jewelry and I always aim for that; I am a quite practical person too. I want people to not be limited or bored when it comes to combining my jewelry with different outfits or wearing them at different occasions. (E.g. the queen bee collection rings look quite impressive individually, but if one wears multiple together, they can become a statement piece, which also looks like a flower). I like to be innovative and original, as it sparks my creativity. I love it when people take a look at my jewelry and ask: ‘how does that work?’, ‘oh, is that a ring?’ or express their surprise after trying it ‘I thought this would be uncomfortable’, ‘That is clever’.What piece or collection do you suggest for someone who hasn’t met Stelios Karantonas yet?
As I mentioned in my previous reply, I like my pieces to be versatile. I believe I would most probably recommend the two-finger IO collection ring. It is one of the brand’s trademark pieces, as it encompasses all its core values: minimalism, elegance, originality, versatility. It is a unisex, geometrical piece which is particularly close to my heart; that is because, before launching the collection, I had tried this design on myself for two years, playing with it, wearing and modifying it until I was sure it would be very comfortable to wear. Plus, most people ask me what it is, which also proves my point in the previous answer!
Jewelry is unisex or is it only a women’s affair?
Jewelry is anybody’s affair. I wear most of the jewelry I design and make for my women’s collections. I think that it my IO collection very much represents that. The necklaces and earrings are worn by women, but using the exact same geometrical designs, the two-finger rings of that collection can very easily be worn by men, too. I think that jewelry is a very personal affair. That is why, when people wear my pieces, I want them to feel themselves. I would like for the piece to become part of their being regardless of their gender, as for me every piece has a specific meaning; it is not just material, it is a moment.
You are based in the UK but do attend and support initiatives or exhibitions about fine jewelry in Greece. Do you think that Greek jewelry design plays an important role on the global jewelry map?
I love my country and its designers, especially the modern ones. I do think there is great talent in Greece which, in these times of crisis is very important to promote. Jewelry design being an art, I can see how designers use it as a shelter in times like this; the result is some fantastic creations. I am extremely happy to see plenty of new and innovative designers, ideas and high-quality jewelry. I always have a soft spot for hand-made jewelry, without necessarily saying that I do not appreciate good quality jewelry in general. I also believe that fine jewelry should not be kept for special occasions only; they should be worn and enjoyed every single day, as an everyday luxury!
Find more about Stelios Karantonas here: http://www.steliosk.co.uk