Athena’s Treasures: The Golden Lining

Jewelry show: Giorgo Damaskos (left) and Peter Bradley (right) at the Athens International Jewelry Show. Photo: Courtesy of Athena's Treasures

First a cynic of jewelry, calling it a “superficial adornment that people wasted money on,” Peter Bradley, the man behind Athena’s Treasures (https://athenas-treasures.com/), is now inspired by the effort the featured designers on his jewelry website make on each and every one of their pieces. His story is one of failure, triumph, but above all, adventure.

September 11, 2011 was a pivotal moment for most of us – but perhaps even more so for Bradley. Bradley worked in the North Tower of the World Trade Center and was in the building when it got hit. That event triggered a lot of “scrambling,” as he says, not only in his life, but his family’s life as well. Two years later, Bradley, his wife at the time and their newborn son decided to embark on a new journey – leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, for calmer shores back in the motherland, Greece.

Photo: Courtesy of Athena’s Treasures

By that time, because of contacts the family had in the jewelry industry and because of a strong reputation on eBay (which, by the way, was bigger than Amazon at the time), Bradley was able to start growing Athena’s Treasures by getting more and more designers to work with him. Bradley says it was his grandfather’s business advice that put him on the right path then, and continues to keep him on it today: “be honest and make sure everyone else’s satisfaction in a transaction comes first.”

Bradley’s stay in Greece ended when his first marriage collapsed. After a few years of pursuing other avenues to earn a livelihood back in the US, fate brought him to Joanne, his current wife and partner. Not only was Joanne smart, conscientious and beautiful, she also taught (and teaches) Digital Marketing at NYU and was a website publisher, creative director and photographer for the last 25 years (useful traits for the evental comeback of Athena!).

With the help of Joanne, Athena’s Treasures was ready for her rebirth. Now bigger than ever before, Athena’s Treasures features **.

Joanne Borek and Peter Bradley. Photo: Courtesy of Athena’s Treasures

Some of the website’s most popular designs are the “Diamond Block Rings” by designer Damaskos and the “Charm Link Loop Chain” by designer Gerochristo which usually gets paired with small to medium sized pendants. Baptism crosses and wedding bands, which are difficult to find in the US, are also popular items.

The stones and sizes of the jewelry listed on Athena’s Treasures are fully customizable from every designer. Damaskos will also make fully custom pieces so long as they are in his style and don’t emulate another artist.

Photo: Courtesy of Athena’s Treasures

Handmade pieces from Greece can also be made. It usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks for an order to be created and sent to the US, but it can also take as little as 2 days or as long as 5 weeks.

When asked about specific designers and their trends, Bradley couldn’t say enough good things about them all. One designer though, really stood out. “[Damaskos] is simply ‘world-class’; not just in our own time, but perhaps in any other. Living in Basking Ridge [Joanne and I] tend to bump into well-heeled people who wear very expensive jewelry. But when Joanne weas Damaskos, the conversation stops. . . and all those wealthy people start to realize they’ve been thoroughly out-gunned. And when that happens, somewhere silently in the back of my head is a scream of victory – Go Greece!”

Bradley hopes to keep fighting to ‘correct an injustice.’ “The Greek Jewelry Industry is by some estimates, the oldest manufacturing industry on Earth. They’ve been doing this for over 5,000 years – non-stop! But why do so few people outside the Greek community know about it? And why aren’t we as highly regarded for it as say: Italians are for fashion or Germans are for cars? In my mind, when people are given a piece of jewelry as a gift, they should turn it over and look for a crazy long Greek name on the back [. . .] and only if they see one will they think it is actually good jewelry! This is a reputation [Greeks] already earned 1,000 times over.”

Quite a long way for a jewelry cynic, isn’t it?

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