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⭐   Take a virtual tour of Ancient Greece at the American School Gala ⭐
⭐   Take a virtual tour of Ancient Greece at the American School Gala ⭐

Updates from Pete and Joanne

Our Blog and News from the Workshops


Update: April 7, 2021 ... The Little Church, The American School and Video Games!

For the past several years we have been proud sponsors of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. The "American School" is the oldest and largest U.S. overseas research center and provides graduate students and scholars a base for the advanced study of all aspects of Greek culture. Our association with them is natural as we are constantly striving to understand the origins and history of craftsmanship and design.

This year we are donating for auction several pieces by Gerochristo that depict the spolia of the little church in Monasteraki (see the video). A "spolia" is a stone that was salvaged from the ruins of another structure, and you'll see them all over the little church. It is believed that many of these stones may have come from the Acropolis, but the exact history of the church and the origins of the spolia are unknown. The mysteries of the little church are not lost on local artists (including our own Spiros Gerochristo), and historians as shown in this lecture hosted by the American School, and the accompanying art exhibit by Nora Okka.

Wow:
Because of their recognized expertise in Greek history, the American School was sought by video game publisher Ubisoft to help make "Assassin's Creed® Odyssey" which depicts (in virtual format) ancient Greece in a way we can actually walk through.  The American School's research was used extensively to help recreate the look and feel of everything from the architecture of some buildings to every day items such as clothing and amphora.

So why are we mentioning all of this?
We would like to invite you to the American School's Virtual annual Gala event, where you will be treated to a virtual tour of Ancient Athens by the American School's own John Camp (superstar historian) using Ubisoft's discovery software and the research that he himself contributed to. During a virtual cocktail hour John will walk us through Ancient Athens and explain the daily activities of the Athenians, what their urban environment looked like and how they lived.

So if you or a family member has an interest in history don't miss this opportunity! Your ticket price helps fund the research that contributes to a greater understanding of our past.

There will be additional events and historical insights at the Gala (see the program). Tickets range upwards from $100 and can be purchased here, but orders totaling $2000 or more awards you a free ticket from us at Athena Gaia! (limit one per order).

Update: March 25, 2021 ... Happy 200th Birthday Greece!

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 the people of Greece were subjected to the corruption and humiliations of Ottoman rule. Finally on March 25, 1821 the the flag of revolution was raised at the Monastery of Agia Lavra and the cry “Freedom or Death” was sounded. The revolt was fiercely fought until Greece eventually gained her independence in 1829.

We are proud to represent the people of this tiny, resilient country, and prouder still to have friends that have maintained their traditions and family businesses through the pandemic. It is a reminder that freedom is earned every day, and that the struggle for independence in all things was not just our ancestor's, but ours as well.

Please enjoy the current sale but more importantly; be proud to wear a piece of Greece. Our culture and hard work goes into every piece and it is an honor to share it for you! 

Update: March 13, 2021 (Working on the Site)

Photography: I don't know if it's the most important part of our business but it's definitely the most time consuming. Part of the challenge is simply keeping everything organized, and that's been especially challenging with Stilvi simply because there are so many pieces.

In this video we discuss his pieces and explain why we are impressed with his collection. Generally speaking he is our lowest priced designer, but that leaves us no less anxious to brag about his artistry and build quality.

Update: March 6, 2021 (Pricing Notes)

One of the most important things any business deals with is to develop a philosophy toward pricing. At Athena's we essentially follow the philosophy of Giorgo Damaskos, who is adamant about his creations being as attainable as possible. It's his view that the craft is to be appreciated and respected, and that traditions are more important than the temporary gains of profit.

This video explains how we feel about our entire product line. Although gold and diamonds may be expensive - the time we take to make and market items is not (this content is also available on the Damaskos page).

Update: March 1, 2021 

We've been working with the ever-lovely "Model M" for almost a year now, and have recently added New York based hair and makeup artist Andrea Saavedra (instagram) to our team. Andrea's experience, confidence and easy going nature have been showing off with amazing results!


THE HUNT IS OVER! (Almost)


Challenge #1 is still up for grabs for $250! 

At this point anyone who wishes may offer additional guesses. 

See the Contest Page and Official Rules.


Update: January 2, 2021 (finally ... 2021!)  

In lieu of recent performances by USPS and FedEx we are suggesting to get your valentines gift orders in by the 15th of January


We've created a new Valentines category that you can see here


Update: December 23, 4 PM EST


Current Sale

We have a Store-wide 15% off sale through 12/31/20 - please use the coupon code HOLIDAY15 at checkout to save!


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Best Wishes for everyone in the NEW Year! 

  


Update: October 17, 2020


Our site is like our home. A home that hosts thousands of visitors every day who can spend hours inspecting every nook and cranny of what's on offer and how we offer it! So just like a home we like to update things and change the look around once in a while, but we do this with your input as well :-) ... so:  


You have asked for more model shots. It is essential to see what a piece looks like up close in high definition, but it is also helpful to see what it looks like when worn by a real person. So we're doing our best to get a photo of every single piece we sell in its "natural habitat"!


You've also gotten "lost in choice" so we've cleaned up our galleries. Clicking "bracelets" on the Gerochristo page used to take you into a blender of mixed up choices in no particular order. Now you'll see all the bangles first, and a steady progression of visually related items from there. This SHOULD help you digest the options a lot more easily!


We're going with a cleaner look for Designer and Category pages. We're not solving any of the world's problems here ... it's just better :-).

Models

Galleries

Pages


What happens at 3:45 am?

One truth about running a business is that the work never really ends. Right now I'm looking at Stilvi's feedback on some photos we took today (we're loving their page right now). While that's going on I decided to list some new Al'Oro pieces. Joanne is sleeping, Buddy is snoring


Hey Dwight; we finally found some open wall space for your collage! The Coffee is from DD (this time) and yes ... to all my high school friends those are readers (but just power +1.00 ... for now!).


Anyway; I figured I'd blog a bit just to feel less alone :-). Get your gift buying done early OK! take care! -Pete



A Note of Remembrance 9/11/2020

19 years ago I was on the 39th floor of the North Tower (WTC1) working in Lehman Brother's IT department. I was settling in with a fresh cup of coffee when the first impact launched me out of my chair. The rest of the story is difficult to tell, and it doesn't seem to get easier as the years go by, especially watching my kids grow and feeling the love Joanne has for me. So I'll save a full-re-telling for next year's 20th anniversary, but just mention here my extreme gratitude to the NYFD. Thanks for climbing the stairs ... I'm doing my best to make it worth it to you.


So this year I just want to share a simple lesson I learned that day: Don't be boring. You can't enrich your life by being like the others. Promise yourself a fuller life, break free and be "you".


Update 9/1/2020

Kalo Mina! We kick off September with our Anniversary Celebration: SWEET 16!

16 years offering Greek Jewelry to the world. 


Want to see more photos of Pete and Joanne over the years? See our 16-year timeline here

Update 8/28/2020

We have been BUSY! Our model dropped by for a few days and as a result we have added more Yianni and Al'Oro to the site, and we finally have enough Stilvi to create a home page for them. 


The word "Stilvi" draws from two sources; one being the continuous change of colors observed in twinkling stars, and the other a mythical goddess who created centaurs. We think a new definition may be wearable art at a very great price. 


We are just getting started with this designer - we have another 50 pieces on-hand to photograph and probably more on the way. Same can be said for all our designers but it is usually the new ones (in this case the 3 mentioned in this post) that grow the fastest on our site because we have so much back-catalog to get through (we'll keep you posted!).

Update 8/18/2020

Have you ever wondered why some crosses look different from others? We've been wondering, too, and have been amazed by the answers we've found. Take a quick journey with us through empires won and lost and the symbol of a faith that has endured it all ... The Cross.


Not sure if you've seen our new page yet but it's getting some positive attention and plenty of questions already. It's sort of at the level of "Cliff Notes" right now, but we will keep adding depth to the story of each shape as we go ... it has already become our new favorite hobby!


Next addition will be a segment on the Coptic Cross (a tough one because it can take so many forms). Look for that later this week and the Jerusalem Cross to follow.

Update 8/15/2020

With the exception of Yianni, our designers are currently either swimming in crystal clear water, eating and drinking too much at a seaside taverna, dancing like Zorba or just plain sleeping! God bless them ... seriously ... we're not jealous at all ... we love New Jersey this time of year ... sure. 


Stilvi and Al'Oro both sent a ton of new things for us to photograph and it's going to take a solid month to work our way through it all. We'll start with still-shots, but we've got a model on-tap so as soon as the weather cooperates you'll get to see how everything "wears". In the end we will more than double our Al'Oro offerings and Stilvi, wow - it's a lot of stuff! So be prepared for a parade of jewelry coming at you all fall long!



Update 8/7/2020

In-Stock Updates: 

Gerochristo has updated us with a new set of In-Stock items and we have updated our own currently supply ... so if you are up for a little window shopping here are some great items that you can have shipped right away:


Click Here for our In-Stock Items



Update 8/5/2020
Q: Are all Designers on break for August?
A: It depends on the designer and the time. We've been marking each piece with timing and availability. Most designers are on break, so we're encouraging you to hold your money until September for those. We'd much rather have happy friends than nervous customers ... so keeping your wait times down is important to us. Note Yianni is still crafting for you through the month of August! And you can always check our in-stock items ready to ship immediately.

__________________________


Something New: The Cross


We have a new page called "The Cross". If you've ever wondered why the cross (as a symbol) has been designed in so many different shapes, then some of your answers may lie here.


The research comes from all over the Internet and has been heavily abridged to keep it quick, informative and entertaining (we're not getting a Pulitzer for this). In truth; volumes could be written on any of these forms so if you see something you feel needs more explanation please don't hesitate to let us know. I should mention that this also represents the first real effort by my son Tom to make a contribution to the family business so I'm very proud of him of course! 


Update 8/1/2020

"Καλο μηνα!" (Kalo Mina) is a greeting shared by Greeks on the first day of every month. It literally means "Good Month" or "Have a good month!". August typically is a good month for our workshops because this is the time for family to bond and everyone to enjoy the summer together. 


That being said; please check our schedule below or call us first about delivery times before ordering this month. Chances are it won't take too long but still, we don't like to keep people waiting! 


If you are in a hurry to give a gift (maybe you've got an upcoming birthday, anniversary or baptism etc)  check our in-stock page for items that can be shipped immediately!


SPEAKING OF TIMING ... Keep in mind our 2 to 3 week lead-time during the run-up to the holiday season. If you have a special gift you would like to give ... think about buying in October rather than December. (our designers thank you)


Update 7/28/2020

Orders accepted through 7/31 will ship before the workshops break (if they are taking time off—see below update). If your piece has timing issues (custom stones being sourced) or is placed after 7/31, we will let you know immediately about any timing update.


Good news—We have recovered several packages this week from multiple deliveries that were affected by the pandemic. All artists have re-crafted their works for us, and newly-made pieces are in the hands or on the way to customer, so this means we will have a good amount of stock in house for August break ;) Look for sales on in-stock pieces here.



Update 7/9/2020

For Greeks; August = Vacation

 

Our workshops are no different, but due to the circumstances many of them are cutting their vacation times in half to catch up on lost work. In any case we will be experiencing some down-time and want to get the word out so that you can plan accordingly (for gifts etc.). Here is a breakdown by designer: 


Al’Oro 

• Our Advice: Things will slow down by 2 to 3 weeks during August, so if you are planning a time-sensitive gift please act now.

• Closed from the 8th to the 26th

• Under Normal Circumstances: Al’Oro ships orders out within a week.


Damaskos

• Our Advice: If you are planning a Damaskos purchase in the the next 3 months, please order now!

• Closed for August … perhaps longer (still undetermined).

• Under Normal Circumstances: Damaskos usually gets things done in 7 to 10 days


Evangelatos 

• Our Advice: Get your orders in quickly for yourself and for gifts

• Alexandra will be heading out of country for August to tend to family members and may be quarantined again upon her return … so we might be looking at a 6 to 7 week interruption.

• Under Normal Circumstances: Alexandra has been finishing catalog items within 2 weeks, her custom jewelry service is dependent upon the complexity of the piece.


Gerochristo 

• Our Advice: Things will slow down by 2 to 3 weeks during August, so if you are planning a time-sensitive gift please act now.

• Gerochristo will be closed for 2 weeks in mid August.

• Under Normal Circumstances: Gerochristo gets about 60% of our orders shipped within a week, but can sometimes take up to 3 weeks.

 

Yianni 

• Our Advice: No Problems - but order from this guy just to show him you love him!

• Garbis is staying in town to serve the tourist trade and make up for lost work, he will make whatever you need quickly & do it with a smile!

• Under Normal Circumstances: Yianni makes and ships everything within 5 days, if he is very busy this could take 7 or 8 days.





    Update 6/27/2020


    COVID-19 Timing Deliveries:

    At last; we are almost 100% positive that the backlog of orders from the quarantine period will be on their way to customers this week  ... whew!


    Al'Oro:

    Oh yes! We just finished up model photography and finally built a page for one of our newest designers; "Al'Oro". You can find their jewelry showcase here. Look for Stilvi next!  




    Update 6/20/2020


    So we have a new designer "Yianni". To be sure; we love this guy! He and his wife are honest, fun and energized to work with our store. They have beautiful stuff at a great price and perhaps best of all; a great work ethic. They put together a huge initial shipment for us of about 30 pieces and shipped them out within the first 2 weeks. This is the fastest launch of any designer in our store's history and we are so happy for them - they really deserve it! 


    But those 30 pieces I mentioned were sent 2 months ago ... and USPS FINALLY delivered it today! It was stuck in Chicago all that time! Unfair to our customers, unfair to Yianni and super stressful to Joanne and I.


    The "fun" part: About 3 weeks ago we actually lost hope in that shipment and asked Yianni to remake the entire order and ship it using our FedEx account. Guess when that shipment gets here ... Monday! 


    Right ... well at least we will have a lot of Yianni in stock and ready to go for anyone interested!


    On a serious note (and I feel like a broken record lately): We are sorry for the delays. Yes; it is out of our control but we take responsibility for it anyway and really do appreciate your patience. This has been a stressful ride but I think we are finally starting to hit on all cylinders again. -Pete



    Update 6/11/2020


    At this point we are all back to work and making jewelry. However we can't say as much for all of the government post offices involved in moving our goods around the world. FedEx seems to be in good shape so we are spending extra for our designers to ship to us using them. But a few packages from Yianni that went ELTA are lost at sea somewhere near Chicago ... so some items are being remade and are a bit delayed.


    We will continue the current sale at our designer's request until the local tourist market recovers enough to keep all the craftsmen employed. Until then please enjoy some of the steepest discounts we're likely to give, and enjoy your summer!


    New Sale Alert


    Night scene at Monastiraki (Plaka) in Athens when tourists are about


    A Damaskos craftsman prepares rope details for a gold ring earlier this year

    Dear Athena Gaia Community,

    We are finally witnessing the gradual return of our artisans to their comfort zone: making art for you. As Greece begins the slow but steady allowance of small businesses to resume, we are breathing a big sigh of relief that our designers and their families have fared well health-wise in this crisis. 


    We usually need this time to prepare for the rush of summer tourists, but the tourist season is still in doubt, holding the possibility many shops will not re-open. Our workshops are also scrambling to make sure essential personnel stay employed. This is where Athena Gaia starts to shine; to provide a connection to the marketplace outside of the normal tourist trade. Throughout our existence we’ve acted as a safety net in situations like this. 


    God Bless you and Keep You 

    Pete & Joanne, Owners of Athena Gaia

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