I was introduced to Eugenie Niarchos a few years ago, through some common friends, and I have witnessed her both on vacation and in sheer professional mode. The first thing I feel the urge to write about her is that she oozes elegance like no other. Yes, she is extremely stylish and very fashionable, but her real charm is not about that. Her mannerisms, stare, the subtle tone of her voice are so polite, kind and aristocratic that constitute the essence of her fair beauty.
Whimsical, Parisian-bred and with Greek roots, she travels constantly in order to collect precious stones and unique experiences that she later channels into her VENYX jewellery line. She doesn’t follow trends; through her one-of-a-kind futuristic designs, she narrates intergalactic fantasies, vintage-retro stories, greek mythologies and ancient mysticisms. Her latest collection, “ELEMENTA”, honors the beauty of nature and its four elements: earth, wind, fire and water.
Q & A
VENYX – How did it all begin?
I have always been very creative and into dressing-up and when I was younger, I knew I wanted to do something that involved fashion, so I thought maybe I should become a fashion designer! Then, I did a few internships in the fashion industry, but I soon felt I did not like it that much, since I found it to be very ephemeral, as things, trends disappear so quickly… At that time, my childhood friend, Gaia Repossi, asked me to collaborate for her 2009 jewellery collection, and that was it! It was then I realized my passion for creating jewellery and decided to turn it into business.
Where did the name VENYX come from?
When I started the brand, I didn’t want to be associated with anyone or anything in particular, so I decided to conceive my brand as a “planet”. I called it VENYX, a mix of Venus and Onyx, a planet and a stone, which are two of my favorite things. By creating this planet – VENYX – I was able to explore and experiment with different themes on nature and science fiction, subjects that have always been a source of inspiration and fascination for me! For example, so far all my collections have been very futuristic and, as far as the ‘nature’ theme is concerned, my first collection “REPTILIA” featured shells and reptile skins, while the second one, “THEIYA”, was inspired by the beauty of light with an evident touch of Greek Mythology (another favorite theme of mine). My third collection, “OSEANYX”, was solely inspired by the magical underwater sea world!
What are your favorite materials / techniques to work with?
I do all of my pieces in 18 carat gold, I’m also very much inspired by colors, so I love using different precious stones, as well. Some of my favorites are Opals and Moonstones. But what I mostly enjoy is experimenting with stones that you can’t find in traditional jewellery… I travel a lot to get stones; for example, I go to the Tucson Gem Fair in Arizona every year and I have picked up a lot of unique and rare stones, specifically for my new collection. For example, I used this new stone, called “Aquaprase”, a light blue stone, which will appear for the first time in the “ELEMENTA” collection!
I experiment with different techniques on jewellery. I love using techniques that are old but, at the same time, I add a modern “touch” to them. I’m inspired by old jewellery; however, I design them with a futuristic take and add a bit of science fiction to them! For example, in “OSEANYX”, I used glow-in-the-dark on enamel, on one of the pieces.
How would you characterize your jewels?
I regard my jewels as playful, fun, figurative, and I really want their “owners” to be happy with them and, most importantly, see a story in them! I consider myself to be a storyteller; each piece has to have a story “incorporated” in it. When I make a jewel, I begin by giving it a funky name relevant to its story. Then, when someone buys it, they add their own story to it.
Also, a jewel is something that you give to your daughter and you pass down to the next generation and then, another story adds to it! I love history in general, and I think Greek mythology, in particular, has a lot to tell; It is very much inspiring and has often influenced me in my collections.
Do you believe in Magic? And what is your favorite mystical Symbol?
Yes, I read a lot of books about mysticism and I love sort of the mystical side of stones. I believe that stones have energy – I have my own beliefs – I believe in space, in the supernatural and a lot of things that might not be the most common things to believe in. As for mystical symbols, there are so many… I use the triangle a lot, I think it is a very strong symbol, featured also in my logo and the one you will very much see throughout my collections. Other prominent VENYX symbols are stars, moons and the sun; the latter is a symbol particularly featured in the new “ELEMENTA” collection.
How would you describe your new “ELEMENTA” collection?
The new collection is inspired by the four element: earth, wind, fire and water. I have basically used one stone to represent each element. But this is only the first part of the collection. In my last collection, I used the moon. The moon has powerful effects: it changes the sea tides and can influence our moods.
On the other hand, the sun is the basis to a lot of things that are alive. Which is why, in the first part of the “ELEMENTA” collection, you will see sun earrings and pendants adorned with Opals and other precious stones. There is a ring, in particular, the “Aruna”, that if you look through its centerpiece stone, you will see an Aztek pattern featuring the sun!
Regarding your best friend and jewellery designer, Noor Fares, do you think that you sort of motivate each other?
Noor is my best friend and we work in the same business. It’s fun, because we get to travel together, we go to Gem Fairs together and lately, we went to the Vegas Fair together. Our friendship makes our trips more fun, as we have company and we share the same sense of humor. And yes, we kind of motivate each other. Because, even though we have pretty much the same taste in aesthetics, we approach a situation or a design from another angle. For instance, we get inspired by the same things, but she will design a collection from quite a different perspective. Mine is more figurative, hers is a bit more spiritual.
Dreams, wishes & hopes for 2017?
I have a few, but I’m very superstitious, so I don’t really talk about those! ; )
Thank You Ileana Makri for allowing us to shoot at your super elegant store, where VENYX and Noor Fares collections are featured.
Photo credit: Anna Tagkalou