Anna Parliara is a jewelry designer based in Leros island, Greece, an intimate secret heaven for discerning holiday makers in the know. Anna designs and makes all kinds of jewelry with high quality craftsmanship – rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings in recycled gold, silver and platinum. She owns a jewelry store in Livadia, Tilos, that offers handmade calligraphic jewelry, easy wear, in geometric and naturalistic forms, metals with patterns and strong colors with stones. Anna Parliara Crafts in Tilos is a workshop where every single handmade piece is produced which makes it very unique at very competitive prices and outstanding service. The jewels have a strong symbolism and can bring us into magic journeys.
IN CONVERSATION WITH ANNA PARLIARA
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer?
I think this job chose me. It’s a long story, but when I am looking back – I was 4 or 5 years old – I remember I was collecting stones from the beach with my aunt. She used to create jewels with these stones, also my family had a jewelry shop in Athens for a few years and since then I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
How important is your cultural background for your brand?
It is very important. I went to an artist jewelry school where I had special courses about the history of jewelry. Soon after, I came to the island of Tilos where I studied contemporary and luxury jewelry culture. The forms were close to European jewels, as well I learnt the stones’ importance for the rings, except for the wedding ones. And the rings with three stones are very special, also I like special symbols like boats, roses, geometric forms from the culture of Tilos .
Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
My biggest mentor is Νick Kielty – Labrinides (1930 – 2003) http://glyptography.blogspot.com/2013/ . He came to the end of his life in Greece, because Greece is the mother of glyptography and sculpture. Except for the technical part of his lesson, I learnt from him the real meaning and the symbolism of jewelry. He was very open minded with a rich and friendly personality. He never cared about money. And as well for me, my job is independent from my income. The best advice was from one old craftsman who told me that I can change the ways of creating jewelry after 20 years, so I should be always open to find new techniques and improve more by practicing them.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
I wish I had more self-confidence.
What was your biggest fear when starting your own brand?
I had no fear. My commercial studies and experiences helped to have a safe path. Even though I was in a difficult place like Tilos, without a bank when I started and without a shipment courier, I was successful in selling in other shops in Greece. Later I opened my shop in Tilos, but I was focused on my work and I also had the support of my beloved husband.
What do you want women to feel when wearing your jewelry?
I want them to feel beautiful and elegant. To shine and to express their personality through my jewelry. I don’t want them to say what a beautiful piece of jewelry, I want the other people to say ‘what a beautiful elegant woman’ when they are wearing my pieces.
Who would you most like to see wearing your jewelry?
My jewelry pieces are for everyday, ordinary women. The busy women who give love and care for others, and they don’t have so much time for themselves. Also, I like that I have a lot of artist customers and this gives me hope, self confidence for my work.
Name a few people you admire or impressed you in your career.
The son of the most famous designer in Greece visited my shop and he came to Leros to buy my jewels. He was very kind and deeply understood my job.
Few years ago, a native woman from Greenland came to Leros and she bought several jewels from my store, so I considered it a great honor. Because, what impressed me, is that she climbed the mountains of Tilos, collected semi-precious stones and brought them to me to make jewelry. She was a hunter, she saw the opportunity, and she had the knowledge of stones.
I like to observe, to travel, to learn, to teach others from different cultures or nationalities to work with precious materials and stones.
Do you have a most treasured item in your personal jewelry collection?
I have a brass necklace, a handmade and unique piece that I got when I was 16 years old from an artist who had a shop in Athens. Another item is a pair of Tahitian natural pearls. I’m very lucky I saw natural pearls, because they have such a color, like the moon.
A letter to your future self. What would you write?
I did not find spring, but I did one. I can’t live the life I want, I do at least try
As much as I can. I don’t want to cheapen it.
You can order an unique gift for yourself or loved ones here: https://www.jewelsannaparliara.gr/