Monday, May 9, 2011

GIORGO DAMASKOS

18-Karat Gold Black Cuff Bracelet
with Sapphires and Diamonds
With gorgeous landscapes and the incandescent glow of golden sand the beauty of Corfu, Greece lends itself perfectly to a tranquil, relaxed mindset. 

Corfu is also a great place to brush up on history within the walls of its many museums.  Greece is also home to featured jewelry designer Giorgo Damaskos.

Okay I have to come clean.  Do you want to know the hardest part of doing this blog?  Believe it or not choosing which photos to upload. 

I am making this acknowledgement because selecting three examples of Damaskos’ exquisite (and expensive) 18-karat gold jewelry is one example of this frequent challenge.

The collection of Damaskos' designer jewelry featured at online jewelry store EthosJewel.com is so sumptuous and breathtaking I ended up downloading more than three photos to peruse later on; only to be stumped again by the day of posting.  If only every source of frustration was along these lines.

Damaskos is a bit of mystery.  While the details of his labor-intensive jewelry making process are available, I was hard pressed to find any additional information or an official website.  However, learning how he implements ancient techniques to cultivate his regal assortment of gold cuff bracelets, gold earrings, and gold necklaces says it all really.

He has the distinction of having been able to replicate a centuries-old method whereby the surface textures of yellow or blackened gold resemble velvet; this texture is called Martile. 

18-Karat Yellow Gold Heart Necklace with Blue Topaz
According to EthosJewel.com this method had been “lost forever over 1,000 years!  It is a painstaking process that takes hours to apply; one small slip-up and the entire piece must be melted down to ingot again.”

Another distinction is that generally speaking most jewelry designers, such as Emily Armenta (USA) blacken or oxidize sterling silver; or in some cases, as is the case with metalsmith Sarah Graham (USA), stainless steel.

The preference among most jewelers is to render 18- or higher karat yellow gold without encumbrance in order to show off its magnificent, warm luster and according to a YouTube video by one of Damaskos’ retailers, Athena’s Treasures, oxidized gold normally has an oily appearance. 

This little tidbit alone makes Damaskos’ work that much more impressive especially considering that the tools he uses “needed to be invented and made in-house.”

Though for the most part his jewelry creations are streamlined in proportion and size, the items are stunningly nuanced with such vivid and intricate details that also include granulation, rope filigree, and accents of lovely gemstones including garnets, pink sapphires, tourmalines, rubies, amethyst, diamonds and Australian opals.
18-Karat Yellow Gold Super Wide Band
with Martile Texture

Prominent and commanding these pieces are truly fit for a queen and with EthosJewel.com's prices starting at $235 for 18-karat gold pendant charms all the way up to $18,172 for a glamorous necklace inspired by branches, his jewelry certainly qualifies as high-end, luxury jewelry.

 Like his Turkish colleagues Gurhan Orhan and Yossi Harrari, Damaskos boldly preserves the superb artisanship of bygone eras lovingly reproducing it for a modern age.
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