Since launching her collection in 1996, Ileana Makri has been blazing a trail with her inventive and often playful fine jewellery. From her headquarters in Athens, Greece, Ileana designs collections that draw on her home country’s rich mythology, along with motifs of mysticism, religion and artistic movements.
The designer, who studied jewellery design at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, calls her designs “feminine,” yet they always have an edge.
Indeed, Ileana was instrumental in putting the pavé technique back on the fine jewellery map, working with Greek craftspeople to set stones on her jewellery in both pavé and micro pavé patterns. It was Greece that first inspired Ileana to experiment with the technique, as she used pavé diamonds to replicate the effect of “the billions of stars in the sky over the Cycladic Islands,” she says.
Now, these shimmering, tiny diamonds have become an instantly recognisable signature of Ileana’s work. They’re also seen in her striking ‘Evil Eye’ collection, which takes its cues from Mesopotamian evil eye charms that are meant to offer protection from evil spirits. Ileana has re-imagined the idea with diamonds and precious coloured stones, as in her beautiful ‘Dawn Ring’ fashioned in 18ct pink gold and pavé set with white, black, purple and green diamonds in an evil eye pattern.