Even though your studies and your primary career steps are related to Business, the Art of Jewelry stole your heart. How did this bond commence?
I think it was a combination of genes, life timing and the need to “experiment” with myself. Learning how to make jewelry, was a decision I made when my career in Marketing was at its peak, but some aspects of it didn’t fit in with my personal idea of the future. I haven’t studied design, but soon after I learned the techniques of jewelry making, I felt I could design the jewelry I wanted to wear. And so I did and that’s what I still do 8 years later. And along the way I discovered that these designs appeal to other women too and that makes me very happy and gives me the urge to continue. I love challenging myself creatively with different styles and materials and as long as I feel a “connection” with a designing concept, that is the “start” button for me.
Do you consider that jewelry is timeless moments or just possessions of the present?
This is an interesting question. I think all jewelry is felt like possessions of the present when they are worn for the first time. However, there are pieces of jewelry that become timeless and unique, due to facts that are related to them, regardless of their objective value. For example, an amulet holds its power in time from tradition, a wedding ring owes its emotional value to its symbolism, a bracelet made of cord and beads can be invaluable to someone simply because someone special gave it as a gift.
A few months ago, I discovered among my mother’s heirloom jewelry – which she never wore and kept them in small worn out boxes – a ring that my grandmother Stasa Leonti, had given to her many years ago in Mitilini where they lived. I put it on my finger almost instinctively and didn’t take it off for days. It was the right size and gave me the feeling I was wearing something truly unique, beautiful and “mine”. I loved it right away and at the same moment, I wanted to lend to it something from me, to evolve it without changing it, to make it part of “my world”, so that it reminds me of its story. A story that is my story too, even if I don’t know it all. And in a way, I think my wish was actually a wish to “continue” this story, to never let it end.
And so, the necklace and the earrings were created, by casting my mother’s ring with the lost wax technique, keeping the original carving, which is believed to portray goddess Dimitra from ancient Greek Mythology, untouched. The ring of the collection is exactly the same as the original with only a slight difference at the bottom part, while the authentic ring remains at its initial form, in 22K Gold. An authentic byzantine Constantine coin, which my mother gave me when I gave birth to my older son and was given to her from my grandmother again when I was born, was the next heirloom that enchanted me. These coins were traditionally given to new mothers as amulets to protect new-borns from the evil eye. As with Dimitra ring, what was crucial for me for the creation of the collection, was to preserve the main elements of the coin and create pieces that respect and reveal its history, while at the same time are beautiful to wear and timeless. That’s why, the two earrings present both sides of the coin and the chain on the pendant passes through two holes, with no buckle added.Do you believe that your recent collection holds the power to influence the wearer?
The value that this collection has for me, is hard to describe in words. Not only because it is literally created from heirloom jewelry of my family, but also because in my mind, it holds the power of an amulet, of that small personal item that gives you a feeling of protection and serenity when you wear it. And that is something you can’t explain using logic, but that is where its magic is.
Summer is the season when jewelry replaces long sleeve clothing. Which jewels do you recommend for the summer vacation?
Summer is the season of freedom in every sense and colors are everywhere around us. So, I’d suggest wearing jewelry that makes your style carefree and chic with surprising colorful notes. I also find important that summer jewelry is light and can be worn all the time with different types of clothes and styles. Helios & Chromata bangles are a celebration of colors and bohemian-chic style and they can be perfectly combined with By the Sea necklaces and anklets. Also the earrings from “Heirlooms” collection have bright, natural stones that can add a more special touch to your look.
You can find out more about the designer here: https://danai-giannelli.com
Photo Credits: Giorgos Kaplanidis