NEW YORK – Jean Prounis pays homage to her Greek ancestry in her jewelry designs which are currently featured in a trunk show at the iconic Bergdorf Goodman on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue through March 28.
Based in New York, Prounis founded her company in 2017 and creates jewelry inspired by ancient Greece and Rome with a modern sensibility. Forbes magazine featured the jewelry designer/goldsmith and her work, noting her remarkable pieces available at Bergdorf including “the kinetic pearl Pagoda Earrings, which feature multiple granulated 22-karat gold domes that glow with lustrous South Sea pearls swaying underneath… [and] multiple sizes and colors of the Bell Shaped earrings, which are inspired by the Bell-Krater vases that were used in ancient Greek homes to serve a mixture of water and wine to guests.”
Prounis’ signature Roz ring and Fan pendants “with one-of-a-kind gems in a rich range of colors, thanks to emeralds, rose tourmalines, green sapphires, blue tanzanites and other precious stones,” are also available, Forbes reported.
“My aesthetic is best described as ‘Greco-Roman’ because of my love of antiquities, my respect for ancient artisanal techniques and a desire to carry on my family’s tradition of creating treasured experiences and memories,” Prounis told Forbes.
According to Prounis’ website, her great-grandfather, Otto Prounis, was a co-proprietor of the Versailles night club in the 1940s, a celebrated cabaret that was located across from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Among the celebrities who graced the nightclub with their presence were Edith Piaf, who made her U.S. debut at the club in 1949, regulars Dean Martin and Perry Como, as well as Desi Arnaz who led the club’s orchestra before becoming a household name with wife Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy.
The club’s legacy of beautifully crafted objects made its way to Prounis’ grandparent’s home where as a child, Jean found herself in a wonderland of artifacts. In addition to all of the Versailles artifacts, her grandfather was a bibliophile, with an extensive collection of tomes on ancient Greco-Roman antiquities, according to the Prounis website. Even before she could read, it was clear that Jean shared her grandfather’s passion for beauty in objects.
Prounis said of her work being shown at the venerable Bergdorf Goodman, “I have always admired Bergdorf’s dedication to exquisite fine jewelry, so it’s an honor to be included in their jewelry department,” Forbes reported.
At 25, Prounis has already mastered ancient techniques such as granulation, chain making, and bezel setting, among others. She told Forbes, “After developing bench skills, I began to play with the scale of intricate details that are found in the finest jewels from antiquity. Many ancient pieces at The Metropolitan Museum of Art were made using microscopically tiny, gold balls in a labor-intensive technique called granulation. Inspired by the intricacy of ancient granulation, my designs scale up the fine details to create a bolder and more wearable piece, as embodied in my ‘Nona’ styles.”
“We source all of our gemstones and pearls through verified responsible dealers who have certificates from ethical jewelry-oriented organizations, such as the American Gem Trade Association, the Responsible Jewellery Council and others,” Prounis told Forbes, adding that “all of our pieces are hand made in New York and the gold we use is recycled from scrap gold jewelry that has been refined to 24 karat gold.”
“Our clients appreciate that no two of our handmade jewels are alike, as well as the fact that our entire collection is produced in New York’s jewelry district,” Prounis said.
Of the Greek inspiration for her work, Prounis told Forbes, “I recently traveled to the town in Greece where my great-grandparents lived before moving to New York. I found a deep well of new inspiration for the next few jewelry chapters. My new collection launching in 2019 is inspired by the ancient laurel wreath, a revered symbol dating back to Greek mythology, and I’ll be offering engraving in Greek letters. I’m also planning to expand into home ware and fragrance collections.”
More information is available online for Bergdorf Goodman: bergdorfgoodman.com and Prounis Jewelry: prounisjewelry.com.