“… It is beauty you keep forever…”
“I am sure you guys will get along. And you’ll absolutely love what she does” explained my friend while passing on the contact of Elisa Pantazopoulos. A few weeks after I was having coffee with this charming woman and visited her atelier. Let me introduce Elisa, jewellery designer, and founder of ELI-O, the fine jewellery line she started just a few months ago.
Tell us more about you.
I feel lucky to have parents coming from such beautiful countries as Italy and Greece (my mum is Italian and dad Greek). For some reasons, I grew up closer to my Greek roots. Maybe because I used to spend all of my summers in Greece with my family. Every time I enter the soil, I am filled with a pure sentiment of joy. I love the atmosphere, the people and the culture there. I have always been fascinated by Greece, its antiques, and particularly by the Ancient Greek jewellery. There is something and pure about it. The warmth and beauty don’t fade with time but it keeps its shine throughout the centuries. Handmade, they are imperfectly perfect. I guess I want to recreate that magic with my own jewellery line.
You were brilliant in your law studies. Yet you fell in love with the job of jewellery designer and left to London to learn the art. Why this sudden change ? And what fascinates you so much ?
I loved my years at uni, studying law. I don’t regret them, in fact they turned out to be very useful when starting my own small business. During my whole cursus, I was very intrigued and fascinated by the jewellery world, especially the manufacturing part. I would spend hours and hours watching videos of girls explaining how they launched their own jewellery business and showing their art. I guess something was missing in my life. The more I went on with my studies, the more I wanted to do something with my hands. I decided to move to London for the last semester of my master degree in Law. At the same time, I enrolled for night courses of manufacturing. That’s when it hit me: I want to make jewellery! That is it! And I was sure. I still remember the feeling the day I made my first ring… it was powerful. What I love about jewellery is that it is beauty you keep forever, like a memory. It is not only an adornment but also a form of protection. There is a very strong and powerful connection between the jewel and the wearer. It’s a part of you that never gets old, in fact gracefully blooming with age. The wearer often attaches to the piece a strong meaning and even considers it as a lucky charm. That fascinates me!
Tell us about the world of “ELI-O” ? Where does the name come from ?
Each and every piece of my jewellery line has a Greek name. Often, I give them a mythological name depending on the meaning and the inspirations behind the piece. ELI-O is a play on words between the God of the Sun – Helios – and my name – Elisa. Why the sun? Because I feel happiest when it’s sunny and warm! Give me tropical weather, I’m obsessed!
Your link to fashion and your inspirations ?
I am a huge vintage freak. I love getting lost in flea markets. Every time I visit a city, I like to discover its vintage markets or shops. It’s like treasure hunting – a piece no one else has. Something that has lived through time and will continue its story through you. Other than that, I like to wear timeless and comfortable clothes: men’s t-shirts or sweaters, old Levi’s, paired with Martin Margiela boots or Repetto shoes. Give me cotton, comfy & vintage – I’m happy!
How did that influence your design, for example your choice to only use precious material ?
As a big vintage lover, I like to create designs that remind me of the jewellery I could find while digging in my grandmother’s treasure box. The most important thing to me is that my creations last and can be passed throughout generations. To ensure that, I only use precious metals (Sterling Silver 925 and 18k Gold). Nothing is plated in order my creations to keep shining throughout their journey. I love the idea that you’ll wear your jewellery everyday for years and then pass it on to your children – the jewellery has and tell a story. My work is mainly based on the ancient technique of “lost wax casting”, which embraces the organic hand’s imperfections at work and allows me to give to my pieces the vintage look I like so much.
Another thing important to me is to make beautiful pieces in a beautiful way. Now more than ever I feel it is important to look for a more sustainable way to make jewellery. I am very appreciative of considerate craftsmanship, committed to sustainability and local production. To minimize my environmental footprint and to support local designers and manufacturers, I use recycled Silver and recycled Gold labelled “ecological gold” which guarantees that ELI-O contributes to sustainable development by following the principles of the Ethical Code enacted by the Responsible Jewellery Council, have local furnishers and have my pieces cast in Geneva.
A hint on what we will discover in your next collection ?
It is still very much inspired by Ancient Greece and I try to keep that organic shape in every one of my pieces! I hope you’ll like it !!!
A word for Blaastyle …
Keep making us dream with your adventure in Singapore ! Looks insane!
And of course, thank you for the love ! Means the world !