We’ve been smitten with Makri’s designs since her collab days with The Row to the present—our current fascination is her double python ring, featured today in AccessZOEries! With a vast knowledge of all things jewels and gemstones and memories from abroad, check out our interview with the amazing Ileana below:
Though you’re vocal in your fascination with a series of motifs (evil eyes, snakes, beetles/bugs), where else do you defer to for design inspiration?
Inspiration may come from anything. A phrase, an image, a shape, a mood, a moment. I especially feel inspired when i travel. There is something so magical about discovering new places that touches me and makes me want to express that feeling. At the moment I am in India and I find myself constantly aroused and enlivened by colours, scents, music and of course a vast array of shapes and motifs.
It’s no secret that you’re a world traveler—where do you find you do your best creative thinking?
The island of Patmos is one of my favorite places in the world. Though I am a very optimistic and joyful person, I like to flirt with melancholy. Patmos has a deep feeling of melancholy due to its profound spiritual history but at the same time it resonates a sense of calm because of it. This is a combination that suits my personality.
Besides those of your own creation, which pieces of jewelry are your most treasured possessions? Any that carry a particularly special story?
During the big snowstorm in NY back in the 70’s, I came across a small antique jewelry store somewhere in midtown, (probably the only store in NY that was open that day.) I bought a magnificent set of mosaic jewelry consisting of a necklace, earrings and four pins, that depict the history of Rome. These are still my most treasured jewelry pieces.
You’re very well-versed in gemstones—if you had to pick a favorite, which would it be and why?
Though I find that all gemstones carry they’re own magic, the stone that has had the biggest impact on me when I came across it, and left me breathless, was a cushion-shaped blue diamond.
You recently launched a contemporary jewelry line “IaM”—besides the price point, how do these designs differ from your other creations?
I feel that today more than ever, because it is such a strong transitional period, there is an intense feeling of nostalgia for things and times that are either transforming or drifting apart. The “IaM” line is a reflection of this time of transformation as it challenged me to create something beautiful and precious with a value that is not necessarily monetary.