Hand-crafted Gold is inexpensive.
It's not that gold is cheaper in
Greece, which is what some people
believe. Gold is the
same price everywhere. But labor
in Greece is cheaper and there are terrific
bargains to be found if you know where to look because Greek goldsmiths are among the best in the world. My wife
Andrea, makes Greek-style 22k gold
and hers is as nice as anything
you can find in Athens with the
exception of a couple of the better shops in Athens including
at 120 Adrianou on the Plaka.
Their work is so good and so
inexpensive that Andrea, (who is
considered one of the finest
goldsmiths in America), even buys
from them. If you are a lover of
Gold jewelery don't buy anything
until you have seen their
work. (The detail of their granulation
is incredible. See
I may not know much about jewelry
but Andrea certainly does and I
have to drag her out of Byzantino
on a regular basis before she
spends all her money that she
makes from her own jewelry
business. Her new strategy is to
buy several pieces because she is
going to sell them to her clients
in the states. Guess what. Not
only does she not sell them, but
she doesn't even try. She wears a
piece to a party and one of her
clients will ask her if she made
it and she will tell them that she bought it at Byzantino.
Now I am not much of a businessman
but shouldn't the conversation
continue with her telling the
client that the piece is for
sale? I don't know if she
planned on selling the piece and
then fell in love with it and
could not part with it, or she
loved it from the start and had no
intention of selling it but knew
that was the only way she could
get it without a struggle.
Whatever her motive, the point is
Byzantino's jewelry is high
quality, excellent craftsmanship
and maybe even addictive.
But if you would like even more of
a reason to go there to see their
jewellery, look no further then
Kosta aka The Doctor, the most interesting and
knowledgeable man on the planet. Ask
him anything about music,
philosophy, science and yes, even
jewelry, and he will give you an
explanation with charts and
diagrams that will make a strange
world suddenly make sense....sort
of. And if that is not enough, one
day an older gentleman from
America came into the shop looking
for Kosta. He was buying a ring
for his wife and claimed that
Kosta stopped the pain from his
carpal-tunnel syndrome by pressing
two acupressure-points. He was returning to the shop to see if Kosta
could do something about his
back. (When he was
paying for the 22k ring Kosta
joked "the ring is free, the
treatment is $100.")
If you walk down Adrianou Byzantino is on
your left at #120.
There are a number of stores at
the same address so be sure you
are going into
Byzantino. It is right next to the
For directions you can call them
at (01130) 210 324-6605 or fax
324-7079. Let them know I sent
"Some of the most beautiful jewelry I have ever seen in my life was in this little shop in Athens, Greece called Olympico. I think I spent 5 hours in this shop trying things on and my husband drank so much coffee with George and Markos while I was shopping he just told me to buy them all so we would have time to see the Acropolis!"- Famous American actress who wishes to
Two doors up from Byzantino is Olympico Jewelry which specializes in 18k Gold (white-pink-yellow), Silver and rather than traditional Greek, specializes in modern Greek jewelry made by contemporary artists. It is very different from Byzantino, despite the fact
that they are cousins and come from the same village in the Peloponessos. Olympico is at 122 Adrianou Street and you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them when you get to Athens if you would like to make an appointment. (tel 210-3248697 mobil 693-6994803). Of course you can also just drop in and ask for George and Markos and they will probably treat you to
a coffee or whatever you want to drink while you are shopping and can also tell you the best places to eat in the neighborhood. In the meantime visit the Olympico Jewelry website so you will have something else to talk about when you come to visit.
Both Olympico and Byzantino have gorgeous jewelry, nicer than 99.9% of what you will see on the islands and around Athens so try to make time to stop in for a visit to both places since they are practically right next door to each other.
When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was 5 years old he had already composed several musical pieces. In fact when his father saw what talent his son had he gave up composing himself. By the time he was 8 years old he had written his first symphony and toured Europe, performing for the Royal Courts in Vienna, Prague, Paris and
London. As we all know he became the greatest composer in musical history and had he not died at a young age who knows how much more great music he would have composed. So where am I going with this?
In 1968 jeweler Sotiris Dimos opened his first shop in Athens and focused on recreating historical pieces from 4th century BC, Byzantine period and museum treasures, using centuries old jewelry techniques. His son Stavros was born several years later and grew up in the shop where his family worked, and began making jewelry as soon as he was able to hold the tools. By the time he was a teenager he had won several prestigious awards for originality and his talent
for merging the old (Ancient Greek and Byzantine) with the new (his own designs), while still making jewelry the traditional way.
Today the former child prodigy Stavros (Steve) Dimos is known world-wide for his innovative and detailed work. If you love jewelry and fine craftsmanship visit his original shop conveniently located at Mpenizelou Palaiologou 3 which is in both The Plaka and Monastiraki neighborhoods of Athens. The
street is right off Adrianou Street which is the main shopping street of The Plaka. If you are coming from the Monastiraki direction turn left and if you are coming from the Plaka direction turn right and the shop is less than a block away. You can also find it by going to the big square where the Cathedral of Athens is located on Metropolis Street. If you come up the famous Pondrossou Street from Monastiraki Square you can't miss it. Next to the Cathedral is a small Byzantine Church called Agios Eleftherios
and Mpenizelou Paliologou Street begins right there. You can also e-mail Stavros and he will guide you from your hotel or send someone to bring you to the shop. Or phone him at +30 2103 2143 02 or +30 6974 3175 07. Tell him you found him through Matt's Athens Survival Guide and ask to see stuff from the secret vault. Visit Dimos Jewelry Website to see a few of his beautiful pieces.
Come see Steve at his new easy to find location at 87 Adrianou Street in the Plaka. It is right across from the Historical Neo-Classic Elementary School.
See also Gifts
for some other ideas of what to buy in Athens. You can see Andrea's jewelry at www.byzart.com
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