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20% Off Bracelets Sale!
A 20th Anniversary Special through February
20% Off Bracelets Sale!
A 20th Anniversary Special through February

The Blog Archive

Update: October 21, 2021: My name is Pete, and my wife's name is Joanne

Who are you (to us?)

We just got off the phone with a major company's service department ("press 1 if you know your party's extension, press 2 for sales, press 3 to be ignored completely, and now; a half hour of hold music"). My apologies for bringing up a negative experience, but it made Jo and I laugh about how ridiculous things have become. Talking to our customers is our favorite part of the day!

My grandfather, Barney, was from Dublin Georgia and made his life selling furniture in Milton Pennsylvania. He passed a few years ago, but not before leaving me with some helpful thoughts: 

"Whether somebody is buying a chair or a dining room set, you must respect that they are trusting you with their hard-earned money. Whether it took them an hour or a month to earn the money; it is a piece of their life that they are giving you. So it is imperative that you must (you MUST!!) ensure that they get their money's worth and feel good about the transaction."

Our phone number is +1 (862) 222-0442 (it's at the top and bottom of every page). You can call us any time you like. We might be asleep and unable to answer, we might be on another call ... but it will be Joanne or myself that answers or calls you back. Who are you to us? You are us, and you will be treated as we would like to be treated ourselves. 

Thank you for your time, you are certainly welcome to ours! 
  

Update: October 14, 2021: You wanted a guy? We got a guy!

Can a man wear this? 

Our typical answer has been:
"Sure; the majority of what you see is unisex, but since we've only ever had female models we've just used them for the photos."

But we got a little tired of falling short for you, so we asked Elizabeth Reinertsen (our new & very awesome model) if she happened to know any guys that could work with us. She didn't know any models but she did know a guy named "Nick" who might work out. With all of our jewelry on our minds we naturally asked if he could be trusted ... and she replied that she certainly hoped so, because she said yes when he proposed!

So on Monday we covered a bunch of new men's rings and bracelets, but the camera lens got a little steamed up when he jumped in to help Elizabeth with a few earring shots. Joanne and I are thinking; 'this should be a lot of fun!' 

We'll be getting back together with these two in November but keep your eyes open for Nick on new rings in the meantime!

Update: September 30, 2021: Holiday Timing Updates

In a nutshell; try to get your holiday shopping done in October

Our best current advice: Get your Christmas shopping done by the first week of November. Anything after that is going to be questionable. 
1) There will be higher demand but our workshops are still short-staffed due to social-distancing restrictions (more work + fewer craftsmen = delays).
2) Our post office is warning that this year will be worse than last for delivery delays (more packages + fewer drivers = delays).

Another side of COVID:

We are all aware that COVID has taken a toll in terms of human life and suffering, but it also continues to take a toll on the global economy. 

Global supply chain problems: (the way goods are transported). We have an issue with the availability of gemstones that is affecting Gerochristo and Damaskos simply because the stone merchants who usually travel to India for stones either can't travel, or their suppliers are short on goods, or there simply aren't enough workshops open back in Greece to justify the trip. Whatever the case; we are advising that you get your shopping done as early as possible to allow the maximum amount of time for us to get your stone of choice.

Al'Oro Byzantine Chains.

Al'Oro Spiga Chians

Damaskos Hand Woven Chains.

Most Sterling Silver Chains

Another issue has been keeping our workshops busy. They all had the option to lay-off their craftsmen and take a government allowance (in fact about 6 in 10 workshops in Greece did just that but none of ours did (we chose the right friends). Because so many competing chain workshops around the world closed, Al'Oro is getting hammered with new business. The effect of that for us is that we will be competing for their time ... so to guard against last minute snuff-outs we are concentrating on just a few of their popular chain products that they will try to keep in ready supply for us despite their schedule; those being the Byzantine and Spiga chains in 14k yellow gold. 

News on other chains:
Damaskos is still able to weave a chain of any length and thickness for you. 
Gerochristo: We're suggesting that you get any chain orders in by Thanksgiving 
Yianni: Same as Gerochristo unless you are looking at their Byzantine chains 

We now live in a world of limited supplies, limited labor and limited time ... we hope to get back to the gold old days soon but until then; order early!
 

Update: September 15, 2021: 

Our first Micromosaic has arrived!

The price is not for the week of heart but we've documented the provenance and craftsmanship so that everyone can enjoy this amazing piece regardless of who winds up wearing it. The craft of micromosaic is a rare one, with only a handful of artisans ever being active at any point of it's history. So we're promoting the craft through the one of it's most capable hands; Luigina Rech. Come take a look!

Update: July 5, 2021 ... We are excited ... (and a little nervous)

For the past 17 years we've partnered with the Damaskos family to bring you some of the finest gold craftsmanship in the world. His pieces are extraordinary, but perhaps the most magical thing is how they get made (entirely by hand and without molds). Most gold designers switched from hand-made to mold-made productions in the 1990's when labor costs started exceeding gold prices. Damaskos stubbornly refused to follow this trend and managed to scoop up some of the best remaining craftsmen in the wake of mass-layoffs, making him one of the few remaining designers of purely handmade gold jewelry in the world.


But there are other endangered forms of art worth fighting for, and one in particular is micro-mosaic.

For at least 10 years I've been looking for somebody that does genuine micro-mosaic well enough to pair with Damaskos gold. At first I looked in Turkey but they were using a less detailed (lower resolution) technique. Then about 5 years ago I finally found an artist in Venice who looked promising at first ... but it didn't work out. These "talent findings" had proven to be so far-and-few-between that I began thinking the art might be lost.


Finally, back in January I found Luigina Rech ... who is by all accounts; the "real deal". In 1974 Luigina began studying under the Master Vincenzo Renzi, mosaicist of the Vatican Studio and her works have found their way into private collections around the world since.


We look forward to presenting our first Damaskos | Rech production in the next few weeks, along with more details about her and her craft (and hopefully some video). These pieces will not be inexpensive, so ownership might not be for everyone but we can all enjoy the art! 

Luigina Rech - 2000

Artist Unknown: 1860's

Luigina Rech - 2012

Damaskos Platform : 2009

Update: June 7, 2021 

Wow!  We just got busy! Traffic to our store has tripled over the last 2 months.


Athena Gaia appreciates and takes pride in our history of committed, repeat customers.  We are also excited in the sky-rocketing number of new customers who have turned to our company for their jewelry purchases recently.  All we can say is a sincere thank you for your patronage.  You are supporting family businesses that work diligently to bring you the very best products available. From our designers, and ourselves, to all our new visitors:  Welcome to Athena Gaia & the world of Greek Jewelry! 


Something else has been hitting the store lately, too.  Our friends at Al'Oro have been hammering away (no pun intended) at a new line of incredibly artistic 14k gold crosses.  Whenever people think of gold from Athena Gaia, they usually associate it with high end, museum quality Damaskos' designs.  While these stunning Damaskos pieces are priced for value, we also desire to offer beautiful pieces in the $1,000 or less range, and Al'Oro has obliged.


A close friend of ours recently complimented us for being just as proud of our lower cost designers as we are of the higher ones.  For our new shoppers, please know this is a core philosophy at Athena Gaia, and a value held by our designers, as well.  There are no corporate study groups to guide us and no investors to placate.  We're just a smart little business with very smart customers ... which is just the way we want it!


Update: May 10, 2021 

We are a family business that works with other family businesses. So Joanne and I are constantly "on duty" and my son Tommy helps with packaging and video work when the need arises, but this post is a "shout-out" to our photo crew: Andrea Saavedra (instagram) and of course; "Model M"


Photo shoots happen about twice an month and are lots of fun. This time "M" asked if she could get her hair colored so we took her to a very nice place in NYC and put it on our tab. We thought it would just be a nice "refresh" but got way more than that - she looks great! Andrea's workload was lightened so she was freed up to offer styling and posing advice which really paid off!


Maybe it was the Spring weather, but we all felt a release from the COVID doldrums and found ourselves hoping the same for all of you, no matter where you may be. We're anxious to break free of the restrictions and find liberation and happiness, but most importantly; we enjoy taking care of the people who help us bring "Athena Gaia" to you. Family is important to us & including these two has been easy and rewarding - so thanks Andrea - and thanks "M".

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 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!

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: April 28, 2021 ... AUCTION!

Save the Date: May 6 @ 6:30pm (virtual)

Join Dr. John Camp, Director of the Athenian Agora Excavations at the American School, and Dr. Stéphanie-Anne Ruatta, Historian at Ubisoft Québec, on a journey through ancient Greece in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, a video game featuring a virtual world created in part using American School research. 

To watch the trailer, click here

To buy a ticket to the event, click here

You need not buy a ticket to the event to participate in the silent auction

Oh Yes! There will be a silent auction with all kinds of goodies up for grabs. Including 6 pieces donated by Athena Gaia & the Gerochristo family (some of which haven't been listed yet). All of which are starting with very low minimum bids - so give it a shot - you may get lucky!

The pieces are all Gerochristo designs from the little church (see there page for the video on that - OR - just scroll down to the most recent blog post below). 

The little church has recently been a subject of attention for the American School, who are at work trying to unravel it's mysteries. The stones come from somewhere on the Acropolis - maybe even the Parthenon itself (we simply don't know yet). 

But long before a study on the structure began Spiros Gerochristo and many other artists noticed the motifs and were inspired by what they saw. It is safe to say that Spiros' design work (and therefore many other modern-day jewelry makers) originated from this little church so we are very happy to donate several of the pieces for auction! 
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: 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: 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 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


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


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

God Bless you and Keep You 

Pete & Joanne, Owners of Athena Gaia

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