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August 23, 2023

Brand Spotlight: Ileana Makri

ince launching her eponymous collection in 1996, Greek designer Ileana Makri’s work has continued to evolve while maintaining the foundational aesthetic that makes her brand so distinctive. Her jewelry is both bold and elegant and strikes a perfect balance between edgy and feminine, resulting in work that reinforces the designer’s goal to create “jewelry to make every day special.” Perpetually inspired by her vast, global travels, Ileana also evokes her deep-seated appreciation for various cultures, traditions and lifestyles in her imaginative designs.

While her work is thoughtfully conceived and painstakingly executed, there is a playfulness and a sense of lightheartedness to her collections.

Recognizing jewelry’s ability to convey a universal range of emotions, Ileana draws upon her home country’s rich mythology, as well as motifs of mysticism, religion and artistic movements, throughout her body of work. “Symbols have a broad, universal appeal that crosses cultures,” the designer explains. Ileana is particularly drawn to the Evil Eye, which is long thought to be a symbol of protection against evil forces, especially in Mediterranean cultures.

While her work is thoughtfully conceived and painstakingly executed, there is a playfulness and a sense of lightheartedness to her collections. Working primarily in 18k gold, Ileana often incorporates colored gemstones and diamonds in unique combinations that showcase her reverence for the stones with which she works, as well as her understanding of the ways in which collectors will wear her work.

Whether infusing a monochromatic cocktail ring with a depth that belies the complexity of its construction, or accenting statement gems with complementary colored gemstones, the designer’s work is a singular expression of joy.

Ileana’s work pays homage to old-world craftsmanship and is further distinguished by the incredible level of detail applied to each piece. With a background in jewelry design at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Santa Monica, California, the designer is considered a trailblazer among her peers. She creates pieces that beautifully reinterpret eras of the past with a decidedly modern feel, and many of the individualized applications of time-honored techniques she’s introduced throughout the years are now considered de rigueur among fine jewelry enthusiasts.

In addition to continually enhancing and expanding upon her designs, Ileana’s flagship store further highlights her passion for good design. In a bespoke and innovative environment designed to her exacting specifications in the heart of Athens, she carries her own vibrant line, as well as a curated selection of other, international designer fine jewelry artists, and select accessories, costume jewelry and home décor.

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