NEW YORK – The celebration of the bicentennial of 1821 continues with a fine jewelry collection from Greek-American filmmaker Zoe Cassavetes and Greek designer Ileana Makri who were featured in Vogue magazine on December 10.
“This past year, Zoe Cassavetes gave new meaning to the phrase ‘heritage jewelry,’” Vogue reported, adding that “the director joined her love of jewelry with her Greek roots in a collaboration with jewelry designer Ileana Makri.”
The 1821 Liberty Collection “celebrates Greek history, specifically the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence” and “the pieces, dotted with precious stones, coated in enamel, and vibrant in color and origin story, were designed with insignia— ranging from crosses to banners crafted from sapphires and diamonds— that reflect the monumental Greek victory,” Vogue reported.
Cassavetes and Makri “were introduced by a mutual friend during the pandemic and quickly bonded over their shared love of jewelry and Greek history,” Vogue reported.
“Ileana is the coolest woman I’ve ever met,” Cassavetes told Vogue which noted that “the two worked on the collection exclusively over Zoom, a meeting of the minds that Cassavetes says, ‘actually saved my brain during lockdown.’”
“Makri, who has worked with talismans like the evil eye in the past, dug deep into Greek history to unearth victory symbols to use in the collection,” Vogue reported.
Makri told Vogue, “I came across a series of banners raised by several leaders of the Greek Revolution, and I thought they were absolutely stunning. They all had that deeper sense of freedom that led to naming this capsule collection Liberty. Each piece is an ode to freedom which, for me, is the greatest value in life. Without it, there is no life.”
The collection “is a history lesson wrapped in diamonds and gold,” Vogue reported, adding that “there is the Jesus Christ Victorious pendant, crafted out of 18k white gold and featuring blue sapphires in a cross shape. It symbolizes the flag raised by General Dimitrios Plapoutas during the uprising of the city of Tripolitsa in 1818.”
“Another beautiful and fact-packed piece is a ring based on the Flag of Kastelorizo,” Vogue reported, noting that “made from 18k white gold and enamel, it includes a heart made from rubies to symbolize love, and an anchor and cross made of blue diamonds that signal hope and faith. The rings and pendants open like a locket, similar to a poison ring— a style that holds something beneath the bezel— a motif that Cassavetes and Makri chose to use throughout the collection.”
Cassavetes, “who is half Greek on her father’s side (her father was film director John Cassavetes), took the project as an opportunity to dig deeper into her background,” Vogue reported.
“Of course, being Greek, it is an homage to my roots,” she told Vogue, adding that “it is interesting to me because as you get older, you’re like, ‘What is my history again?’ Someone told you [about it] when you were young, then you live your life, and eventually, you’re like, ‘Oh, I’d love to learn more about where I came from and learn about these people.’ Also, it is an incredible civilization.”
Cassavetes “models the pieces in a quite modern way, throwing a pendant necklace over a white T-shirt or wearing a ring with a classic white button-down,” Vogue reported, noting that “though her love of all things Greek is from her father, her obsession with jewelry hails from her mother, the actor Gena Rowlands.”
Cassavetes told Vogue, “I come from an old school mother and grandmother who donned a lot of jewelry all the time. It seemed really normal and very powerful and chic. Life is too short, so let me just put on all my jewelry and just wear it!”
More information about the 1821 Collection is available online: https://ileanamakri.com/.