“It is not worth sacrificing beauty for money” according to Konstantino Sioulas, the founder of Konstantino Jewelry
Few who make such sentiments hold true to them. Fortunately, Konstantino cannot be considered guilty of this hypocrisy.
An unswerving dedication to his art has ensured that under his guidance Konstantino Jewelry enjoys an ever increasing profile within the industry. Even though, as the above sentiment would suggest, Konstantino has little love of convention and dares to defy it at every turn.
From choosing not to repeat collections that enjoyed commercial success and shunning computer aided design to the complex and daring designs that he produces, Konstantino and his jewellery are nothing if not unique.
The latter is at once bold and intricate. Inspired by Konstantino’s homeland of Greece, the company’s dedicated customer base are not wrong in their assertion that this jewellery has soul.
It’s a powerful and growing clientele too. The likes of Brad Pitt, Rihanna, Keith Richards and Oprah all own Konstantino designs and the jewellery can be found in retailers across the world. With a presence in the likes of Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom and plenty of fine boutiques, it’s unsurprising that discerning luxury consumers are now following the A-list and recognising the merit in Konstantino’s creations.
All this came from “nothing” and Konstantino is as hungry as ever to continue producing jewellery with imagination. Here, Luxurious magazine meets the man behind this intriguing brand in an exclusive interview.
LM: Tell us about yourself?
K: I was born and raised in Greece and I have the honour and pleasure of working with my two children Julian Christos and Phaedra. The design and production of our jewellery resides in Greece, while all operations are in the US. I do my designing in Greece because it inspires me. I am also inspired and privileged to work with incredible goldsmiths and artists who learned their trade working on the bench for 30, 40 even 50 years using their hands, their eyes, their soul and NOT technology. I love perfection at work and in life. I love to imagine and design beautiful things and I love jewellery, it’s my passion.
LM: What inspired you to start Konstantino Jewelry?
K: I have been designing and creating jewellery in Greece since 1983. In 1991 I met my wife Annette (we still do all designing together) and it was her idea to import our jewellery from Greece and start the company in the US. I wanted the challenge, and of course needed to provide for my family and so the business was born.
LM: What is the brand’s philosophy?
K: I like to make unique, complicated jewellery in both design and production. I never want to stop evolving and I believe it is not worth sacrificing beauty for money, that’s why I don’t have investors.
LM: You have an incredible celebrity following with the likes of Brad Pitt, Rihanna, Keith Richards and Oprah all wearing your designs. How did this come about?
K: First, I love good music. Music is my second passion, the first is jewellery. Music is in my DNA, it’s a big part of me and that reflects in my creations. Don’t you see a little Velvet Underground, or Miles Davis in some of my designs? It is a great honour to see musicians and artists wearing my pieces. They wear it because they love it and that makes it really special to me.
LM: Tell us about your design style. What makes your designs unique?
K: I like to dare and challenge myself all the time coupled with a lot of hard work. I believe it is the only way. When I design I am always thinking of new paths, different ways, innovative techniques. This is the way I work, with a non-stop urgency for newness, the different, something nobody has seen. Our style is unique and handcrafted created using the brains, the imagination, the hands, a pencil, a razor, music playing and that’s it.
No computers, we’re human, we’re artistic and that reflects in our designs. My customers have told me over the years that what makes me unique is that my jewellery has a soul.
LM: What are your strongest design influences?
K: Architecture, art, sculpture, ancient Byzantine art, music. Mostly people. I love people and people really inspire me.
LM: Which designs are you the most proud of?
K: I don’t believe in designers who sit under the shade of all their glories. I am in love with the future, with the unknown. What is done is done. I enjoy the journey, dreaming up designs, executing them, the whole process. I don’t like to sit back and reflect on the past.
LM: What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken with a design?
K: Designing must always be a risk. If it is not a risk, it’s in danger of being a repeat or a copy. However, if I had to think of one example of a risk it would be with a collection I created called the Soul Collection.
I mentioned I loved music, this collection was inspired by the Fender guitar. Everybody hated it when they saw it. The buyers, my colleagues, nobody wanted to even talk about it. The customers ended up loving it. It was one of our best sellers ever and they wanted to expand the collection, though I never did.
LM: Which designers do you admire and why?
K: I admire David Yurman, Hardy, Armenta, Stephen Webster. Most importantly I like artistic designers, who don’t always sacrifice the beauty and imagination for commerce.
LM: Are there any luxuries in life you can’t do without?
K: I was born and raised in the Greek countryside and I learned how happy I can be without many material things. Now I like luxury, I work hard for luxury or for “BOLYTAELIA” the Greek word for luxury, it means “very perfect”. I like perfect things. Luxuries or “perfect things” I can’t live without? I can’t live without my work, Don Julio Tequila, the Greek islands, music and my sports car.
LM: What does the future hold for Konstantino Jewelry?
K: If you create something out of nothing with blood, sweat and tears you don’t want to sell it, it’s your passion. I am very happy to have my two kids working with me, not because they’re my kids but because they are extremely talented in many ways.
I will pass along my knowledge, with my love, with all of my philosophies and I would like to continue seeing this company make beautiful, special, timeless jewellery. And if my children have the same passion and they have the guts, I want them to take it a little further.
In the meantime, I still want to keep creating handcrafted, jewellery with soul, rich in imagination and enjoy the journey.
The most important thing is the journey not the destination.
Konstantino – Where and How
Interview by Henry McIntosh