Guided by a creative and critical approach to life and design, inspired by her travels, Ileana Makri’s jewellery transcends aesthetics. It embodies a philosophy that encourages exploration, curiosity and a reverence for the world’s diverse cultures and ecosystems. The Ileana customer believes in personal luxury, not as a status symbol, but a connection to the essence of nature, history and the extraordinary in everyday life.
Ileana Makri launched her eponymous brand in 1998 and has since gained international recognition for her innovative designs. Although she is a globetrotter at heart, Ileana Makri, was born in Greece and still resides there. She travels extensively for design inspiration, and shares her time between Greece, India, London, Paris and New York, allowing her to embrace and celebrate different cultures and landscapes within her craft. Her fascination with gemstones began during her childhood and in 1996 she made a pivotal decision to follow this passion, enrolling in jewellery design studies at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica. This transformative step marked the inception of her remarkable journey in the fine jewellery space as an innovator who believes in creating freedom through education.
Originally obtaining a degree in Business Administration, Ileana then went on to follow her true passion and studied jewellery design at the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica) in 1996.
In 1998 Ileana launched her signature jewelry line “Classic” which proved to be a major milestone for Ileana as the collection was instantly picked up by Barneys New York.
Ileana Makri’s Fine Jewelry is skillfully produced in Greece, in collaboration with some of the nation’s finest artisans. For every piece, she journeys far and wide to source only the most exquisite gems. Additionally, her Athens Atelier now contains her own workshop, where she can oversee every piece to the last detail.
“A major factor in jewelry making is collaborating closely with the artisans who craft it, as this connection is crucial for producing exquisite pieces.”
A significant amount of manual labour is employed in the crafting of each piece, giving it a detailed, meticulous look. In her travels, she seeks to uncover the distinct craftsmanship and methods of each region. Among her favourite areas to collaborate with native artisans is India, where she has recently begun to create select collections in conjunction with the local talent she celebrates.
From an early age, she has found working with her hands to be a calming and meditative practice. It was during the Covid pandemic that she turned to beading, leading to the creation of her Globetrotter Collection.
Ileana has created a community that is a global tapestry of individuals who share a connection with her brand and philosophy. It’s a community that transcends geographical boundaries united by a mutual appreciation for innovation, nature, and the discrete luxury experience that Ileana offers. These individuals aren’t just customers, they are advocates who resonate with Ileana’s vision and values. Ileana’s ability to create these deep connections lies in her unique philosophy and language. Her jewellery tells stories, and these narratives resonate with her community on a personal level. Each piece reflects her curiosity, travel, and genuine love for the beauty of nature and history. Her language is woven into her designs and the materials she chooses to work with; speaking directly to those who appreciate the extraordinary in every day.