FOTINI KRINAKI | Athens, Greece

 
 

Drawing on her own whimsical imagination as much as from the millennia-old traditions of Greek jewelry making, Fotini Krinaki designs and handcrafts some of the most acclaimed jewelry in Greece from her small workshop in Syntagma, in the heart of Athens. 

Krinaki’s unorthodox version of the traditional gift for an Orthodox christening, the Martyrika, or “witness pin,” is a playful, contemporary take on an old Greek custom. Handmade from solid gold, glass, and pearl, her Martyrika is complete with the ancient and ubiquitous Greek talisman, the Mati, or “evil eye,” which protects the newborn and wards off evil. Martyrika pins can be pinned to a stroller, stuffed animal, or crib and make for a thoughtful gift for a baby shower or baptism.

Some of Krinaki’s other creations include the eccentric, yet elegant, Matchstick earrings. One of the first designs she created after studying goldsmithing at the Art Center in Plaka, over 15 years ago, it’s a classic in her collection. 

While Greece has long been known for the beauty of its gold jewelry, Krinaki’s quirky, modern twists on tradition have set her designs apart – and we’ve made them available for the first time here in the US. “I try to express what I imagine in a lighthearted, childlike way,” she says, “without forgetting our history of jewelry.”

Written by Ronald Coleman. Photos by Thanassis Koutsogiannis and Whitney Ott