Ioannina: The sacred city of Greek silversmithing tradition

 

 

"Blue-green in colour and deep, next to the small town, lies the lake. The high walls of the old medieval-and some say even older- castle are mirrored in its waters"

“Blue-green in colour and deep, next to the small town, lies the lake. The high walls of the old medieval-and some say even older- castle are mirrored in its waters”

This magnificent lake in the corner of a cold tableland, surrounded by the rough mountains  of north-western Greece, was the heart of the first humble settlement, that was established here in 6th century AC.

The people of the town of Ioannina and its surrounding mountain villages didn’t find many choices for their livelihood: without fertile lands and commercial roads, crafts soon became a suitable occupation. Moreover, the lonely labour of the craftsman on his workbench seemed to be align with the solitude of the isolated landscape and his laborious efforts for survival in it.

During the next centuries , the town of Ioannina and its surrounding area were growing fast, under the authority of the downfalling Byzantine Empire. At this point, the town’s craftsmen started forming the first unions, that helped them to create an identity, organise in an exclusive community under certain rules and boost trade with the uprising closest centres.

The “chrysikoi”, the goldsmiths’ union, that encluded all craftsmen working mainly with gold and silver to create ecclesiastic pieces, jewelry and even functional everyday objects, had to be one of the most creative unions of the town, as witnessed by exquisite pieces of work that have been endured to time. Even from these years, the skilled craftsmen of the town started building upon the ancient metalwork tradition of the area of Epirus  and the invaluable Byzantine artistic patterns in order to forge the local style.

Fortunately, the rise and prosperity of the chrysikoi union was not put to hold, even after the capture of the town by the Ottoman Empire in 1430, that lasted for five centuries. The privileges of the union remained untouched, while the city rapidly arose as one of the most important trading and cultural centres of the Balkans.

The "Definition" of the town's privileges, signed by the Ottoman general Sinan Pasa, after the capture of the town in 1430

The “Definition” of the town’s privileges, signed by the Ottoman general Sinan Pasa, after the capture of the town in 1430

 

This era is highlighted as the brightest of the silversmithing industry in Ioannina: Numerous workshops emerge in the town and villages, while productivity and exports are growing. The artistic style and skilled techniques of local craftsmen begin to stand out throughout the empire for their quality and grace, producing masterpieces of folk art. Silver dominates as the favourite and most characteristic metal of the town’s creations, while ancient techniques that are used again (like filigree or niello) also leave their mark on  local patterns . In parallel , other metals, like copper and tin, are also being crafted in large scale.

A typical example of Ioannina silverware aesthetics: the Byzantine traditional patterns are harmoniously combined with western artistic motives.

A typical example of Ioannina silverwork aesthetics formed in that era : the Byzantine traditional patterns are harmoniously combined with western artistic motives.

One of the very few local artworks that have been rescued from that era: a fine silver flask used for ammunition shows a great deal of artistry

One of the very few local artworks that have been rescued from that era: a fine silver flask used for ammunition shows a great deal of artistry

The silversmithing industry seems to be at its peak in the first years of the 19th century, when the town of Ioannina counts 30.000 inhabitants and 53 workshops! But, the events to follow proved to be devastating: In 1821, the town of  Ioannina is sieged by the Ottoman Sultan’s army so as to end the local ruler’s defection. The town is evacuated and when the people return, they find it burnt and looted. The upcoming years, marked by the Greek War of Independence and the punishing suspension of the town’s privileges, come to deteriorate the trade’s situation. Still, the persistency of the silversmiths and the importance of this industry in the area’a social life, lead to the survival of many workshops, which in 1862, came up to the number of 26.

The  story of the founder of the renowned House Bulgari, Sotirios Voulgaris, is very englightening about the disaster of that years , the struggle of the people to survive and also the unique talent of this area’s craftsmen. Sotirios Voulgaris descended from a family line of silversmiths, that came from the mountain village of Kalarrytes, cradle of many celebrated artists. His father had to abandon the village, when it was destroyed by the Ottoman army, as retaliation for its participation in the Greek War of Independence that bursted in 1821. The family came to settle in the nearby Ionian Sea coast, where Sotirios was born  in 1857 and  apprenticed to his father, becoming a skillful silversmith himself. After years of struggling and wandering as refugees, Sotirios and his family ended up in Rome, where he managed to open a store of his own and started receiving attention for his work. The rest is history…hard work, patience and talent paid off!

Sotirios Voulgaris, founder of House Bulgari, descended from a long line of silversmiths that lived and worked in the wider area of Ioannina.

Sotirios Voulgaris, founder of House Bulgari, descended from a long line of silversmiths that lived and worked in Kalarrytes, a mountain village in the wider area of Ioannina.

Back to Ioannina and the story of the silversmithing industry, the liberation of the town and its incorporation in Greece in 1913, inaugurated an era of certain stability in social and economical life, in which attempts for the preservation and development of the local silverwork culture were made. Among them, the founding of the School of Silversmiths in 1930 was of major importance, despite the fact that the workshops continued to be the main place where the craft passed through the next generations.

What makes the  town of Ioannina really special , even today, is the fact that this prideful tradition stands alive and evident into modern silversmithing production. Despite the severe changes that technological advance and the mechanisation of production brought to the life of craftsmen(changes that led other industries and productive units to extinction), the Ioannina silversmiths have managed to preserve the most fundamental elements of their course in history: their invaluable traditional techniques and ways ( even the main tools used nowadays by the town’s silversmiths are almost the same as a century ago!) and the presence of numerous small workshops, each one with different artistic orientation and value that grace the town’s modern production with a remarkable variety of styles and patterns.

Thanks for reading!

The Team@SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry

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Apollo pendant, our latest divine inspiration!

Ancient Greek Mythology has always been an exciting challenge, a precious tank of inspiration and ideas that has actually formed our personal style as artists.

Though we have yet again dealt with ancient Greek Mythology jewelry and themes depicting Greek Gods and Goddesses, the highly celebrated god Apollo has never been a theme in any of our creations.

The Temple of Apollo in  Delphi, a place that was considered to be the centre of the world by ancient Greeks

The Temple of Apollo in Delphi, a place that was considered to be the centre of the world by ancient Greeks

Apollo’s divine functions, his delicate nature and generally,the way he was incorporated in the imaginary world of the ancient Greeks, as long as his impressive depictions in ancient and modern art have always been attractive to us.

That is the reason why we decided to experiment creating a new design, a highly detailed pendant that includes our true admiration about this fascinating divine figure. We sincerelly stand proud while presenting our latest creation, the powerful  Apollo pendant and the fascinating story of the mighty God Apollo!

Apollo Pendant, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry

Our Apollo God of Light Pendant, just crafted with
great care to the detail, using 925 silver, 22 carat gold leaf, light-cured porcelain and covalt! http://goo.gl/zQ5oBB

Apollo’s divinity, due to his widespread worship in the entire ancient Greek world, was viewed in many different ways and aspects. But mainly, he was considered to be  God of the  sun, baring all the beneficial functions of the sunlight in everyday life. Therefore, he was commonly connected with light, healing and protection from the evil. Apollo, especially as healer, was a very influential religious figure, that was celebrated in almost every ancient Greek city.

Moreover, Apollo has to be one of the most spiritual and mystical deities in ancient Greece. The centers of his worship, the bright Aegean island of Delos, where he was born, and most importantly his shrine and oracle in Delphi were among the most sacred and religious places in the ancient world, attracting thousands of pilgrims in numerous festivals.

The Delos Island, birthplace of the God Apollo  remained strictly uninhabited, only to serve as sacred location of his worship

The Delos Island, birthplace of the God Apollo remained strictly uninhabited, only to serve as sacred location of his worship

While male deities were often attributed with violent and sharp elements, Apollo’s nature was pictured in a different manner: playing a lyre or a pipe or riding on the back of the swan towards the northern lands in the winter months, the ancient Greeks imagined him as a gentle and cultivated figure. After all, all forms of art were considered to be under his protection and sponsorship.

Therefore, it is not surprising that Apollo has received a special attention by ancient and modern artists. His depictions in ancient sculpture have made their mark and passed over  the standards: Incomparable beauty and physical perfection, elegant posture among with calm and confident aspect. Undoubtedly, Apollo has to be  the artistic ideal of ancient Greek beauty and spirituality!

Apollo, west pendiment

Apollo of Olympia, by far the most beautiful depiction of God Apollo and one of the finest masterpieces of Ancient Greece.

 

Crafting our beloved Apollo pendant  was a very enjoyable procedure and a great opportunity to stydy more about this wonderful divine figure!

Thanks for reading,

The Team@ SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

 

 

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Jewelry inspired by Hercules : A fine labour

Since Greek mythology jewelry has always been one of our favourite themes, creating Hercules Jewelry designs  has been an amazing challenge. The love we share for powerful, manly themes and elegant men’s jewelry as long as the admiration for this heroic figure of the ancient Greek world were the driving forces in creating this Hercules Jewelry design!

hercules jewelry, silvertownart greek jewelry shop

Our Hercules Ring inspired by this legendary mythological feature is crafted with gold leaf, 925 silver and light- cured porcelain http://goo.gl/1CjSkT

If heroes are the symbols of the qualities every society wishes to possess, the ancient Greeks had -undoubtedly- created a very powerful and impressive mythological personality to identify with. Α uniquely honoured and worshipped hero, Hercules concentrated all the ideal virtues of the man in the minds of the ancient people. Superhuman strength, fearlessness, ingenuity and -whenever needed- rage were the elements attributed to this extraordinary figure. With his heroic action “witnessed” from Gibraltar to Scythia and Egypt and his deeds covering all major facts of ancient Greek history, his story is really fascinating.

Hercules statue

The mighty God Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene were the parents of the baby,who was firstly given the name Alcides. But, Hera, powerful goddess herself and wife of Zeus, never came in piece with the existence of her husband’s illegitimate child, not even when it was given the name Hercules, that means glory of Hera. When he was only eight months old, she sent two giant snakes in the children’s chamber to harm him. But the outcome sealed the infant’s fate in another way: he strangled the snakes with his bare hands..

Hercules is depicted with great artistry in this 5th c. BC pot, while strangling the giant snakes.

Hercules is depicted with great artistry in this 5th c. BC pot, while strangling the giant snakes.

Coming into youth, Hercules starting proving himself, building his reputation in war and heroic deeds. But Hera interfered once more, condemning him to serve the Mycenean king Eurystheus for 10 years. This is when he performed the famous “twelve labours of Hercules” , all imposed on him by Eurystheous as impossible to deliver, achieving his recognition as the mightiest hero of his time. Every one of them is an exciting, adventurous story that causes true admiration for the ancient Greek people’s imagination and culture..

Labours of Hercules

Astonishing depictions of Hercules’ labours in ancient Greek art: 1. Hercules presents the dreadful Erymanthian Boar in front of the terrified Eurystheus 2. The Nemean Lion attacks the hero, while goddess Athena is watching the battle 3. Hercules struggles against the Lernean Hydra 4. Hercules overcomes the mighty Cretan bull

In the next years, Hercules was wandering around the known world, challenging notorious creatures and criminals. One time, while passing through Italy, he was attacked by two powerful giants that held the road passages of Liguria. Hercules kneeled to pray for his father’s help and protection. Impressively, this scene inspired ancient astronomers into naming a constellation, that is called Hercules constellation since then.

hercules jewelry, silvertownart greek jewerly shop

One of the most famous depictions of Heracles, now displayed at the Naples Archaeological Museum

Naturally, the hero’s death had to be as special as his life. After all, ancient Greeks loved to insert the element of tragicalness in many of their stories and biographies. It all starts with Hercules and his new wife, Deianira, trying to pass through a river. Hercules is a capable swimmer, but his wife accepts the help of the centaur Nessus, who offers to carry her to the other bank. But, Nessus, charmed by Deianira’s beauty, makes an unadvised attempt to steal her, but Hercules’ arrows, dipped in the poisonous blood of the Lernaen Hydra, soon find their way. In revenge, the dying Nessus offers his poison-soaked tunic as a present to Deianira telling her it would excite the love of her husband.

hercules jewelry, silvertownart greek jewelry shop

Heracles, Deianira and Nessus, black-figure hydria, 575-550 BC, Louvre

Some years later, when Deianira is doubtful of her husband’s  love and loyalty gives him the tunic to wear. The poison starts acting immediately, burning his skin and penetrating his flesh. In terrible pain and agony, the hero uproots some trees and builds his own  funeral fire, before jumping inside the flames. Zeus, mourning, but prideful about his son, decides to make him immortal and Hercules finally rises to Olympus as he dies.

Hercules myth has always been exciting the people’s thymic and imagination. In many places, great temples were built to honour his name or his heroic deeds.(Modern Monaco, for example, is named after the ancient temple “Hercules Monoikos” meaning Hercules lone dweller, that stood in that very place!). Moreover, his figure influenced dramatically ancient and modern art and literature worldwide, making Hercules a common global cultural theme..

We are pretty proud to have crafted this special piece of Hercules Jewelry. While we have just added our fresh designs in our Shop, we are fiercly working in order to create new Hercules Jewelry inpired by the one and only ancient Greek hero!

Thanks for reading,

The Team@SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry 

 

 

 

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Athena Jewelry, named after the Greek Goddess!

We are fascinated to dedicate this issue to Athena, the glorious female figure that dominated the ancient Greek world as a goddess and inspiration for the people and art. We feel special for presenting the three emblematic pieces of Athena Jewelry of our Shop!

Athena Jewelry, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

The Story…

In the ancient Greek world, Athena was the goddess of wisdom, strategy and war. Protector of the city of Athens, the Athenians absolutely adored her, as she personified intelligence and prudence, and symbolized the archetype of the honourable, pure woman’s figure, which is why she is thought and represented as a virgin, with no bonds with the opposite sex.

Goddess Athena, "Athena Jewelry" SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Her birth, as usually happens in the ancient Greek mythology, is somehow strange. Athena emerged from her father’s head, Zeus, dressed in armour. Her father, who until then suffered from desperate headache, smiled, and welcomed his new daughter into the family and realm. Athena was from that moment and always his favourite child and she was always devoted to him and only.

According to Greek Mythology, Athena had always intense and competitive relations with Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love, and Poseidon, god of the sea. The story has it that Athena and Poseidon where fighting over the city of Athens, who would be the protector. The twelve gods agreed that both Athena and Poseidon should make a present to the Athenians, a useful offer, so that the people would decide who would be their honourable god.

Athena and Pοseidon

They went to Acropolis, and in front of the gods and the people, the duel begun. Poseidon struck the side of a cliff with his trident and water sprung immediately. People were awed, but the water was salty. Athena hit with her spear the land, and a bushy, evergreen olive tree grew. The people and the gods were amazed by the wise offer of Athena. The olive tree could give olive oil, nourishment and timber, so, Athena was chosen to protect the city.  As well known, until today, the olive tree is precious for the Greeks!

Athena and Poseidon, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Repsesentation of the west pendiment of Parthenon. The scene depicts the battle between Athena and Poseidon over the protection of Athens.

The Athenians loved so much their goddess that built a temple for her, in the middle of 5th century B.C., in the Acropolis of the city. The temple was named Parthenon, after Athena ‘s secondary name Parthenos which means virgin.

Athena is found in numerous ancient Greek jewelry  and ancient coins. Some of them have been an inspiration for us!

Athens's Offering Pendant, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Athena’s offering. This magnificent pendant depicts Athena offering the winged Nice , “Νίκη” which means victory, to the Athenian people. The scene is micro-sculptured on black background using light-cured porcelain and enhanced with 18 carat gold leaf. Athena offering Nice is a theme that derives from the 12 meter chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statue of Athena that decorated the main Parthenon hall, in the interior of the temple .Athena in the Parthenon Hall

The statue was created by the famous sculptor Phidias who carved all her majestic clothing in gold. Fascinating! Athena’s Offering pendant is a precious, really unique piece that condenses the glorious atmosphere and aesthetics of that era.

Athena Pendant, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Athena Pendant and Athena Ring are both versions of Athena as depicted on ancient Greek coins. The colour used, the bold blue background  combined with 18 carat gold leaf are meant to represent the way the magnificent chryselephantine statue of Athena stood under the clear blue sky of Athens. As Parthenon still awes us with its splendour under the attic sun, why we chose blue as a matching background!

Athena Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

We definitely feel very special about Athena Jewelry and consider them emblematic for our Shop. After all, we do live in her city..!

Thanks for reading,

The Team@ SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

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An ancient Greek ring tale: The ring of Polycrates

ancient greek signet ring

We are fascinated by ancient Greek tales! When it comes to jewelry, we absolutely allow ourselves to get lost in the stories. After all, they are part of the huge Greek Jewelry heritage that is present thousands of years and inspires us as modern Greek artists!

Rings have always been a precious and prideful possesion in ancient Greek times, while their beauty and value inspired many stories and myths about men who felt special about these extraordinary pieces of jewelry. From the beautiful island of Samos, that lies in the Aegean Sea, near the coast of Asia Minor, comes this ancient Greek tale, about a man who had a precious, beloved ring that he could not be separated from…

Near 500 BC,  fortune seemed to favour the bold and ambitious tyrant Polycrates, who had managed to seize absolute power in the island, as well as a dominating presence in the south-east Mediterranean sea. His personal wealth had increased substantially by the depredation of his political adversaries’ fortunes and the incomes of that bright and fruitful corner of Greece, while his numerous fleet was delivering one victory after another in the plundering campaigns that he had unleashed upon the cities of the Aegean Sea. Polycrates had adorned his city with huge and magnificent buildings, while his palace competed  in luxury the most lavish  palaces of the East and his treasures were, now, beyond count.

The Temple of Hera, Samos island

Nevertheless, according to the ancient Greek tale about him, the most precious object that he had in his possession was a marvellous emerald signet ring. Polycrates had ordered it for himself from the celebrated metal-worker Theodoros, while he was still rising in power and wealth. Polycrates was convinced  that the ring  was sacred and fortunate to him. He loved it so much that he spend many hours in the palace looking at the astonishing masterpiece.

An ancient Greek shipBut, in the ancient world, there was a common belief that the excessive luck and success provoked the punishment of the Gods, and that led his friend Amasis, Pharao of Egypt, to send him a letter warning him to be careful and ask for the divine forgiveness by throwing away his most precious possession. Polycrates decided to obey and in despair he manned a ship and sailed to the open sea of Samos. There, with deep pain, he took the ring in his hands and let it fall into the blue.

Days after, Polycrates remained inconsolable, grieving about what he thought was the end of his good fortune. Unwilling and silent, he received a local fisherman who had come to offer an unusually big fish he had caught that day, to his great king. Polycrates ordered that the catch would be sent to the kitchen and returned to his chambers. But soon, he was called again to the kitchen, where he faced a sight that rejoiced his heart. Right inside the belly of the fish, that had been opened up on the kitchen’s wooden table, lied his precious flashing signet ring! The Gods had appreciated Polycrates’ gesture to deny his most precious thing, his ring, and they had returned it back to him as a reward. Fascinating story..!

It is kind of hard to give away something you adore. No need though, we can all keep our precious jewelry !

Thanks for reading,

The Team@SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

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Ancient Greek Men’ s Rings and Myths

Μen’s rings in the ancient Greek world have always been a great inspiration to us! After all, men wearing rings is manly and chic! Men who decide to wear a ring have an interesting story to say about who they are. It is always eye catching to see a man wear a ring regardless his age or style..

Hercules Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

This powerful ring features Hercules, depicted in one of his labors. The theme is micro-sculptured on black background of light-cured porcelain closing in on 925 silver and covered with 18 carat gold leaf. http://goo.gl/7Gt7A4

From  the earliest period of every ancient civilization until today, for a man to wear a ring is  a way to communicate with other people in an different level. A ring says something about the character and status of a person from the ancient times until today. It is something like his signature, personal!

Rings and Myths…

This ring wearing custom was incorporated in Greek mythology through the Prometheus myth: Prometheus, despite being doomed by Zeus to be chained for 30,000 years to a rock in the Caucasus mountain for stealing fire from heaven for men, was finally released in a later act of divine mercy. But, because the original punishment could not be undone, he was ordered to wear a link of his iron chain on one of his fingers as a ring, which was “ornamented” with a stone, fragment from the rock. So, the Greeks considered the ring wearing custom as paying  homage to Prometheus, while it’s interesting to note that the Spartans -more respectful to the myth- were exclusively using iron to craft them.

Mens Rings in Ancient Greece, Archer ring, SilverTownArt wordpress

A wonderful signet ring depicting an archer, 5thcentury BC

The first Greek men’s rings were mostly used as seals by the king or men of the royal court. Soon their use for highlighting prestige and authority was recognised. Yet, the rise of democracy spread their wearing in men of all social activities. Public officials, generals, even philosophers started wearing rings as a sign of both power and pride. Gradually, it became a necessary accessory of the sovereign citizen of the Greek city.

Another purpose that was fulfilled with this custom, was the memory of a happy or prideful event. Odysseus is mentioned to have ordered a ring engraved with a dolphin to celebrate the rescue of his son, Telemachus, by one of these -beloved by the Greek world -creatures of the sea. Victories in the Olympic Games or on the battlefield also became favourite themes that were engraved on Greek men’s rings.

Mens rings in Ancient Greece, Hermes ring,SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry WordPress

A golden ring from Taranto depicting the God Hermes in great detail, 4th century BC

Moreover, due to their widespread use, the art of crafting rings bloomed in the wealthiest of the ancient Greek cities.

Mens Rings in Ancient Greece, Griffin ring, SilverTownArt wordpress

Mythological creatures often featured in ancient greek rings. A griffin is depicted here in this 16mm diameter ring.

 The ancient Greek rings were made of various materials, such as gold, silver, iron, ivory, and amber. Additional themes were inspired by Greek mythology, religion and nature. Today, we are inspired by these ancient themes  and create unique, extraordinary rings that definately make a statement.

Thanks for reading,

The Team@SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

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Pegasus Ring. The Flying Horse, a Symbol of Beauty, Strength and Artistry.

Starting today, we will be presenting in our blog our creations out of our Ancient Greek Jewelry Collection and the fascinating stories of Greek mythology behind them. First one to go is Pegasus, the flying horse!

Pegasus Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Pegasus Ring, The Flying Horse http://goo.gl/IJBcaq

The story…

Maybe the most popular and beloved figure of Greek mythology, Pegasus, the marvelous white winged horse that was born in the oddest and yet impsessive way that only ancient Greeks could think of!

According to Hesiod’s “Theogony”, the ancient Poet who lived approximately around 800 or 700 B.C. after Homer, Pegasus was born when Perseas, the ancient hero and son of Zeus, beheaded Medusa with the assistance of Athena, and Pegasus sprang from her neck. So, Pegasus was considered son of Poseidon, God of the sea, and Medusa’s, which is why Pegasus relates closely to the element of water. Medusa, Pegasus mother is known as the Gorgon with the living snake hair that stoned anyone who looked into her eyes. But, according to the myth, this appearance came as a punishment from Goddess Athena. Medusa at first was a gorgeous priestess of Athena. Poseidon fell for her and transformed himself into a horse so as to approach her in the holy temple of Athena, where, according to the myth they made love. Athena was furious and as she could not take it out on her sibling and god, Poseidon, she cursed Medousa with this hideous appearance and power.

Medusa and the birth of Pegasus, Pegasus Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Pottery depicting Pegasos bursting forth in birth, from the decapitated neck of the Gorgon Medusa, 500 – 450 BC

This story explains in many ways why Pegasus is considered a creature of beauty and grace. When dying Medusa probably set free from Athena’s curse and Pegasus symbolizes the mating between Poseidon and Medusa in her first look and grace that resulted to strength and heroic action.

Bellerophon and Pegasus, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Bellerophon and Pegasus

Pegasus was so loved by the ancient Greek world, and especially in the ancient city of Corinth where he was worshiped as deity and coins where cut after this dazzling creature. The Corinthians adored Pegasus because it was captured and tamed by a mighty local hero, Bellerophon, slayer of monsters before Hercules, with the help of Poseidon and Athena.

Pegasus Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

On the left the original Corinth coin depicting Pegasus

Pegasus allowed Bellerophon to ride him and together they set off to defeat a dangerous creature called Chimaera who was depicted in the “Iliad” of Homer as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back and also dragon, with a tail that ended in a snake’s head.

Bellerophon and Pegasus, Pegasus Ring,SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Bellerophon and Pegasus

 Chimaera was killed by Bellerophon on the back of Pegasus and his fame grew even more. He thought it was time for him to reach mountain Olympos, the realm of the gods, a presumption that enraged Zeus. He sent a gad-fly to sting the horse causing Bellerophon to fall all the way back to Earth. Pegasus completed the flight to Olympus where Zeus used him as a pack horse for his thunderbolts from Ifaistos’ workshop to Olympos.

Bellerophon killing Chimaera, Pegasus Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Bellerophon killing Chimaera

Bellerophon killing Chimaera, Pegasus Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Bellerophon killing Chimaera

Eventually, the gods offered Pegasus an eternal place in the sky, creating the constellation of Pegasus that remains in modern astronomy.

 Pegasus was also the horse of the Muses, the nine goddesses of the inspiration of arts (especially for literature, poetry, music and dance) and science, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (who was memory personified). Moreover, Pegasus is thought as the horse of artists and especially poets,  whom they can ride and fly towards artistry.

Pegasus on Pottery, Pegasus Ring, SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry Shop

Pegasus on Pottery

 According to the myth, the Muses once competed in singing with Pierides, the nine daughters of King Pieros, near by the river Elikonas. The muses sang so beautifully that everything in the world stopped. The sky, the sea, the rivers, all of them stopped so as to listen to the Muses’ exquisite hymns. Elikonas, filled with joy and happiness from their song, started to rise its peak towards the sky. Under Poseidon’s orders, Pegasus stopped Elikonas river with his hooves and made him drop down. Out of this move, a majestic spring was created called Ippokrini, meaning spring of the horse, that inspired the Muses ever after…

Carried away by this fascinating myth of Greek mythology  and after the ancient coin of Pegasus we have created this magnificent Pegasus Ring . Definately a statement piece, it symbolizes force, beauty and artistry. The theme is  micro-sculptured on black background of light-cured porcelain closing in on 925 silver and covered with 18 carat gold leaf. Mineral glass adornes the carved silver. Love it yet?!

Thanks for reading,

The Team@ SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry

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The History of Ancient Greek Jewelry Culture

It all started thousands of years ago! We are fascinated to say a few words about the history of Greek jewelry culture, a glorious heritage that defines us as modern artists.

Even before the ancient Greek societies got in touch with the art of metallurgy, the need for personal decoration and prominence was present. Bones, sea-shells, clay and simple stones were the first materials to be used in the production of the first pieces of Ancient Greek Jewelry, right within the Stone Age.

Minoan Queens, "The beginning of Ancient Greek Jewelry Culture", SilverTownArt

Moving on to the Bronze Age (3000 B.C. and after), the development of navigation brought Greece closer to other advanced and wealthy civilizations and changed dramatically every aspect of art and everyday life. The rise of commerce filled the main Greek city-centers around the Aegean Sea with plenty of precious metals and gemstones from the East, while the spread of metallurgy delivered the skillful techniques necessary to craft them. These circumstances innovated the dawnof Ancient Greek Jewelry making that produced truly timeless masterpieces that still remain admirable for their artistry and beauty.

Ancient golden necklace, "The beginning of Ancient Greek Jewelry Culture", SilverTownArt

A wonderful golden necklace from the island of Lefkada, 3rd millenium BC

Hammering seems to be the first technique that ancient Greek jewelers used to produce their first pieces. In that period, jewelry is viewed as a symbol of higher social status or wealth and precious personal decorative item that escorts the wearer in life and death.

The Minoan Civilization (3000-1000 B.C.) in Crete stands out as one of the most thriving in the ancient world. The existence of the palace and the strong presence of wealthy upper class drives jewelry making into new paths and aesthetics. Gold, ivory and precious gemstones are all crafted with new or evolving complicated techniques such as repousse, granulation and filigree, producing extraordinary pieces of art, even from 2400 BC.

Magnificent Minoan Jewelry from the Aigina Treasure."The beginning of Ancient Greek Jewelry Culture" SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry

Magnificent Minoan Jewelry from the Aigina Treasure.

Approximately at the same period with the Minoans, the Mycenean Civilization flourishes in the mainland of Greece and culturally dominates the ancient world. Their capital city, Mycenaes, has always been fascinated by the glare of gold. Around 1500 B.C., the Mycenean jewelry making reaches its peak, crafting wonderful golden pieces.

Mycenean Gold Earrings, 1600 BC, "The beginning of Ancient Greek Jewelry Culture", SilverTownArt

Mycenean Gold Earrings, 1600 BC

Openwork technique, engraved and enameled designs, come to perfect the ancient jeweler’s craftsmanship handing over a precious intellectual capital to the upcoming civilizations.

The first era of Ancient Greek Jewelry History positively graced the world’s cultural heritage with admirable masterpieces. There are no words to describe how it feels to stand beside a piece of jewelry crafted by ancient societies and worn by people of different ages!

Thanks for reading,

The Team@SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry

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Ancient Greek Coin Jewelry Collection

We are extremely happy to present our Ancient Greek Coin Jewelry Collection !

Writing an issue in our blog about this particular Jewelry Collection of SilverTownArt means a lot to us due to its special and deep cultural meaning. As Greeks, we are very much moved by ancient Greek themes. More than that, these kind of themes are an amazing challenge for an artist, not only because of the complexity with which these themes are infused, but also because they must be approached with great respect and care as they a significant part of the world’s cultural heritage.

The Lion Attacking to a Deer scene.

Arethusa Pendant

The Ancient Greek Coins are part of a wonderful culture that once flourished in the ancient Mediterranean world and until today we are defined as modern Greeks by its glorious aesthetics, knowledge and cosmology skills. Being aware of all this and living in Athens gives us a clear perspective regarding our work.

Olympic Games Cuff

We allow ourselves to be inspired by these themes, like the ancient Greek coins, while being also motivated, intrigued and sensitized, to work with them in an honest and honorable way so as to create pieces of equal aesthetic, that balance between antiquity and modernity.

Athena Ring

Athena Pendant

Let us explain in a few words. When trying to ascribe the ancient design and the theme itself in a discreet yet contemporary manner, we had to come up with fresh ideas!

Pegasus Ring

This process resulted to a unique technique that creates a luxurious, bold piece of jewelry using light-cured porcelain, a totally innovative material, in order to produce the lucent background where the theme is positioned. Often, the scene that is sculptured with great care at the detail, is enhanced with 18 or 22 carat gold leaf, so as to highlight the scene. All of our designs are integrated with 925 silver, a quiet way to surround and complete the spectacular scene that we focus on.

Athena’s Offering Pendant 

King Philip Ring

We are extremely proud of our Ancient Greek Coin Jewelry Collection because we know that our pieces reflect the ancient Greek aesthetics in a honest and yet fashionable way. Do take a close look in our Collection and let us know how you feel !

Thanks for reading,

The Team@SilverTownArt Greek Jewelry

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Ancient Inspirations

ImageAncient Inspirations… So as to rephrase, what makes us love ancient style Jewellery so much?

 

Take a look at this ring. It belongs to the Aigina treasure, the island of the Aegean Sea and it’s dated about 1850-1550 BC. It is probably a piece of Minoan Cretan workmanship.

At SilverTownArt we have the pleasure to work with an amazing artist that produces replicas of ancient Greek jewellery or performances, taken for instance from ancient coins.

Museum pieces! That’s the phrase that best describes the beauty of these designs. Image

Arethusa Pendant, Stunning right?!

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Athena, The GoddessImage

Pegasus, The Flying Horse

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What makes us adore this kind of Jewellery is the feeling of another time, where people invented new things, just as effectively as now, or even more, considering their means. How is it that they produced such beautiful things, 4000 years ago and have this kind of aesthetics?

Thanks for reading,

The Team @SilverTownArt

 

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