A brief visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, where famous 19th c. amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann’s solid gold artful finds from Mycenae (16th c. BC) are on display, will be indicative of the Greek heritage in jewelry making. Goldsmiths with simple tools created elaborate pieces that showcase extraordinary sophistication and craftsmanship. From headdresses and masks to necklaces, rings and bracelets, these intricately engraved Bronze Age treasures comprise one of the largest gold finds in the history of Europe. Greek artisans produced equally stunning jewelry during the Classical Age (5th-4th centuries BC), the Hellenistic period (323-31 BC), and the Byzantine Empire (4th-mid 15th c. AD).
In modern Greece, especially after WWII, a revival of fine jewelry-making takes place. Several of the pioneering families are still in the business of designing and crafting marvelous items, most of them inspired, one way or another, by the various phases of Greek style and civilization. Downtown Athens is sprinkled with jewelry stores and showrooms, some of them affordable and touristy, but luxury-lovers will mostly be drawn to the boutiques prominent Greek jewelers have on prestigious addresses at the heart of the city. If one area of design is where Greeks excel at and create trends for, this is haute joaillerie!