FROM OUR FRIENDS: Christina Alexiou’s Rings Have Stories To Tell
This article originally appeared on theadventurine.com and was written by Marion Fasel.
The idea of gold rings are baked into the holiday season. The connection, of course, comes from the “five gold rings” lyric in the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Never mind that internet sleuths have dug up history of the 18th century English carol suggesting the phrase might, in fact, be related to birds, specifically goldfinch. For the vast majority of holiday shoppers, the “five gold rings” will eternally be one of the greatest fantasy jewelry gifts ever.
I am always on the lookout for gold rings this time of year to capture the spirit of the song and the season in a gift guide, but I have never come across a collection of rings that has the warmth and personality of Christina Alexiou’s designs.
They are the perfect everyday treasures you could collect over time, in say, a group of five. As you can see in the pictures here, they look wonderful grouped together. And there is more to these jewels than the irresistible beauty of the designs and allure of the gold.
“Each ring has a story,” explains Christina. “There’s a love story, a message of peace, symbols of strength and protection.”
Find out more about the rings below.
A native of Athens, Greek mythology and classical motifs are a natural choice for Christina’s gold signet rings, which are handmade by her workshops in the city in an embossed relief design. A special patina makes the jewels feel like treasure from the ancient world.
The goddess Niki (or Nike) represents a strong woman as well as peace and prosperity. The winged horse Pegasus, who is encircled by diamonds, is a powerful symbol of victory, majesty, beauty and inspiration. Eros and Psyche embody the idea of a great love story. And a palm motif inspired by one Christina spotted on a Greek amphora vase, is a emblem of peace.
An ancient Greek symbol of eternal love and healing properties, snakes have become one of the most ubiquitous animals in jewelry. Christina gives the creature her own unique design spin through surface texture, gems and sinuous lines.
One of Christina’s snakes features a big head with an emerald weighing over one carat, diamond eyes and a slender textured gold body that wraps around the finger several times extending up to the knuckle and ending in a curved tail.
Another ring simply depicts a snake tail. A matte texture creates a scaled surface on the gold. The s-shaped tail infuses a feeling of movement in the jewel.
Christina describes her gem-set rings as “big and theatrical” and it’s so true. The jewels provide a punctuation point of color.
When it comes to the gems, mainly emeralds and tourmalines, Christina’s gemological guide is the ancient rings in museums. “The stones in old rings were as they came out of the earth, which gives them character” she explains. In that vein, Christina doesn’t use flawless gems, but expressive stones. The designer adds more individuality to some rings by using carved gems.
The gems are set in wonderfully weighty gold rings with olive branches hand-carved into the sides. “I love the energy coming out of the stones,” says Christina. “I felt they belonged in a ring with an olive branch.”
HEARTS, LIPS, SCARABS and PROTECTIVE EYES
Some of the motifs in Christina’s gold ring collection are sculptural depictions of symbols.
Hearts, one of Christina’s favorite forms, express a mood for love. Protective eyes harken back to talismanic Greek evil eyes that shelter the wearer from danger. Scarabs are often associated with the divine manifestation of the morning sun. Christina’s life-long interest in surrealist art is captured in her Kiss rings. “I try to bring some humor into the jewels with those lips,” explains the designer.
The large-scale format of the hearts, lips, scarabs and protective eyes are intended to give the wearer something tactile to play with. “They are very nice in your hand because everything is smooth, nothing is pointed,” explains the designer. “They improve with age and come to life as you touch them.” It’s one of the many qualities that makes the gold rings a perfect gift.