Ilias Lalaounis, the pioneer of Greek jewelry and an internationally renowned goldsmith, passed away at the age of 93. He died a few days ago but his family announced his death today.
Lalaounis was born in 1920 in the heart of Athens, Greece, in a neighborhood under the sacred rock of the Acropolis. After having worked in the family business for many years, in 1968 he founded his own company, the Greek Gold-Ilias Lalaounis S.A. Initially the company opened branches on Greek islands but quickly expanded to European capitals such as Paris, Zurich, Geneva, London and in cities around the world such as New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
He has received many awards for his work and he is the only jeweler member of the French Academy of Fine Arts. He began his career by taking over the family business ZOLOTAS in the early ’40s . In the ’50s, his genius idea to revive the Greek jewelry industry has been very successful and undoubtedly changed his life and the course of modern Greek jewelry. His designs were inspired by ancient years. His historical knowledge of and the ability to deepen to the art and history of early civilizations led to a number of “archaeological” collections inspired by different cultures of Europe, Asia and America. During the ’70s, he proved that his fantasy was inexhaustible, creating new designs and collections inspired by modern technology, astronomy, nature and biology.
The company’s factory that was founded in 1993 supplies famous shops in Greece and abroad. His four daughters — Dimitra, Catherine, Maria and Ioanna — have now taken over the company.