The Most Human Material | The Work of Goldsmith Ilias Lalaounis
Gold is "...the most human material." - Ilias Lalaounis
The jewelry of Ilias Lalaounis (Greek 1920-2013) harkens back to a time of great emperors, myths and legends. His design and techniques blend modern taste with ancient sensibilities, exemplifying his inexhaustible imagination as an artist and craftsman. His use of hand hammering, granulation, hand weaving and filigree has set him apart from most contemporary jewelers. Working primarily with eighteen and twenty-two karat gold, Ilias Lalaounis has been creating handmade jewelry since 1941, opening his own store in the 1960’s. His collections are based on ancient cultures like the Hellenistic period, with intricate gold granulation and bezel-set diamonds and gemstones. The Minoan and Mycenaean with hand-hammered gold, all inspired by museum pieces excavated throughout the empire. These early collections helped establish him as a world class designer.
By the 1970’s Lalaounis started creating pieces inspired more by nature, astronomy and modern technology. Remaining true to the ancient techniques that launched him as a top jewelry designer, he incorporated these elements into his newer works. His empire quickly expanded from Greece to Paris, Hong Kong, Geneva and London and beyond. In 1990 he became the first goldsmith to be inducted to the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l'Institut de France.
The appeal of his jewelry remains a constant, its captivating nature and classic styling enthralling generations of women since he first began to shake up the jewelry world in the 1940s. Freeman’s is proud to offer a custom made head dress by Ilias Lalaounis in its May 4 auction Jewelry and Watches. Designed as a crown of laurels, it is evocative of the icons of Greek legends and the heroines of Romantic poetry. One could easily imagine Helen of Troy crowned in such a piece. In keeping with Lalaounis's versatile design aesthetic, this one-of-a-kind piece can be worn as a diadem, or as an elegant collar necklace. Estimated at $5,000 - 7,000, it is accompanied by a note of authenticity from Lalaounis.
This work brought $5,313 in the 4 May 2015 auction Jewelry & Watches.