|Ilias Lalaounis was born in the heart of Athens in 1920, is today an internationally renowned artist and jeweller. After working in the family business for many years he founded his own company in 1969 entitled Greek Gold-Ilias Lalaounis S.A. Initially branches were opened on several Greek Islands and soon expanded through Europe in Paris, Zurich, Geneva, and London and in cities throughout the world such as New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. He has received many prizes for his art with the most important being that of the French Academy of Fine Arts in 1990, as the only jeweller ever to be elected as its member.
His career begins in the 40’s when he oversaw works for the family’s Zolotas firm. At those very difficult years within the Greek society both politically and financially Lalaounis turned to new ways of promoting the business. At first with the introduction of new machinery and techniques for the manufacturing of chains, he continued the gem setting jewelry but studied ancient goldsmith techniques for designs prescribed on gold 18k and 22k jewelry and micro sculpture. In the Fifties his ingenious idea of reviving Greek jewelry was hugely successful and without doubt changed his life and career. Ancient artefacts sparked off his imagination and inspired thousands of jewelry designs. Lalaounis’ knowledge and grasp for the art and history of early civilizations led to a number of ‘archaeological’ collections based on various cultures in Europe, Asia and the Americas. In the Seventies he proved his inexhaustible ability to create and search for new ideas with some spectacular designs based on modern technology, astronomy, nature and medicine, to mention a few. He overwhelmed his clientele with the sheer diversity of his jewelry and the richness of the gold for which he became well known.
In 1993, the company’s workshops were moved to new, purpose-built facilities. The building was altered to house a unique Jewelry Museum, the only museum world-wide dedicated to contemporary jewelry. The Museum’s founder, Ilias Lalaounis, envisaged a social role for the Museum in endorsing the development of contemporary Greek jewelry, through a framework of promotion, display and academic research that such an institution may offer. Today, in its superbly equipped new workshops, Ilias Lalaounis Greek Gold LTD produces the designs sold in the company’s outlets in Greece and abroad. In line with the family tradition, Ilias Lalaounis’ four daughters, Katerini, Demetra, Maria and Ioanna direct both the company and the museum.
Ilias Lalaounis passed away December 2013