The Royal Jewellers S02 ep5 : Zolotas Jewellery [Athens]

Interview with Marianne Papalexis

In a marriage of myth, culture and contemporary design, Zolotas breath new life into the antiquities of Greece displaying in their pieces an homogenous blend of the ancient and the modern wrought from the simplicity of gold and silver. In its own way, a Zolotas creation can bridge the chasm between the mortal and the immortal as images of Danae, Aphrodite and Athena adorn the necks and wrists of modern day muses.

Zolotas: I started to get involved in the Zolotas business when I was still studying in Paris. That’s a
long story which started when I was 17 years old and it still goes on.

Zolotas: As my studies were about history of art in the … I fell in love with the Greek story. I had
also studied Ancient Greek language, so it was like I was ready to come in Greece with absolutely
no question about.

Zolotas: Zolotas started in 1895 but in the early 60’s Zolotas became international. He installed the
concept of jewellery coming from the Greek history. At that time for example we had Onassis
buying for Carlos for Jackie Kennedy, so we had a huge international success, Zolotas came out as
a jewellery concept linked to culture concept.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Zolotas: He was Governor of the Bank of Greece, it happened to be in ’91 also Prime Minister of
Greece so he wanted to transmit the Greek culture through his father business. Everybody used to
call him Sofos Sage, somebody who had a very pure thought and who really helped the country to

Zolotas: He had no children himself and he had niece and nephews running the business for many
years and when I came from France I had the honour to be very quickly given the management
from ’82, ’83. 2003 I was to become the Shareholder and to own this company actually.

Zolotas: We have been cooperating with two or three very great creators as Claude Lalan who is a
French designer who did a very pieces for us in the ’75, ’76. Palomas well started with Zolotas
before going to Tiffany, you know she was very young there and we loved her creativity, she was
very, she has a very great sensitivity about jewellery.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Zolotas: We have Lenny … but we must be international. Today there is an international aesthetic,
we cannot avoid this and we cannot ignore this and say we’re going Greek culture and Greek
jewellery, no, this is wrong, okay, but in the other way we cannot have full abstraction of our
history so this is very exciting for our designers you know it’s really fantastic because what we can
see in the past two and three years, we have a very good response of our customers on the new
image and of course I will show you a few pieces after that to make you, that you will understand
the evolution of Zolotas so what you can do you can still recognise that this piece is Zolotas, but
it’s not any more ethnic.

Zolotas: I am myself a member of a committee in Paris where we all meet and we speak about all
these things. People loves us, they really thinks we are charming. We are not yet appearing as a
very interesting,

Jewellery Theatre Elements


Zolotas: Exactly okay, we don’t mind because we don’t, we are not in this mind actually, we are
very exciting and very realistic about the work we are achieving and the work we have still to do.

When did Mr Zolotas die?

Zolotas: 2004 and before the Olympics and he was 100 years old. He didn’t see this, this happened
December 2006 we only have one year of the new image you know because we has to establish the
strategy but he was really happy because he knew that 2003 before he left, he knew that I was the
owner and he wished me to take the succession.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

Zolotas: He knew that I took it as a mission because actually I didn’t give birth to the Zolotas
name, but what is happening is I have to make the transmission and to upgrade all the past to a
future which can be really very, very successful.

Zolotas: In Greece I’m considered as a Greek lady you know from everybody, I am France from
older society, politicals, artists or whatever, they do not look at me as a French person because I do
not behave, I behave as a Greek person because I adore, I adore life in Greece because in the soul
of Greek people first of all you have to have a good time and to share all the moments with
happiness, with enthusiasm, with passion, this I adore. The part which is not so good is in
professionalism, when you want to have perfection, when you … people concentrate on
professionalism, this is another story. We are getting and better and better here in Greece but still
there is a lot of work to do you know in other countries people are thinking more seriously the way
you have to be efficient in what you are doing. This is what I’m always complaining about, but I
can tell you honestly, things are getting much better with youth, with the younger people.

Zolotas: One of our best customer was Melina M… she allowed us to take a lot of pictures of her
with our jewellery. We had really and Papas also was really and she still is a very good friend of
the house. I mean we are lucky on that, they love Zolotas, they also give me their opinion and they
also are so much in love with us that they want us to be better and better and they are, make it
criticise and they just say you should do that, you should do this you know and I love that, I adore
that because they are very concerned. For them Zolotas is important.

Zolotas: Jewellery first of all is very important for the beauty of your life you know you need to
have beautiful things around, you must feel beautiful, men and women, we want to feel beautiful,
we need to feel beautiful, inside and outside, and jewellery is helping a lot, I mean it’s a very
important, it’s a value, it tick, you know it’s the key as you said, it’s … it’s moral value for me you
know jewellery, not for me, in all the story you can see from the origin of humanity that men and
women were always wearing jewellery. They feel better, they need it. It’s I think it’s really

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Zolotas Jewellery