Our Eclectic Jewelry: Uniqueness, Quality and Diversity
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "eclectic" as "selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods or styles. According to the MacMillan Dictionary "an eclectic group of people, things or ideas is interesting or unusual because it consists of many different types".

So, these two statements collectively define our jewelry collection: it is the unique work of a highly selective, diverse and continuously expanding group of vendors that are some of the best jewelry artisans Greece has to offer. Their work represents a variety of distinct styles, materials and manufacturing techniques. During the 25 year history of Maria's Jewelry we have had the privilege to do business with close to sixty different Greek vendors. Currently we maintain about thirty active accounts. 

Thus, some of these vendors are artisans that specialize in a very narrow product line. Others are manufacturers of diverse and broad product lines with hundreds (and even thousands) of unique jewelry styles. Most of the designs of Greek jewelers are inspired by a particular period in the long history of Greek jewelry, i.e., Ancient Greek (see the first image in the accompanying slide show), Byzantine (second image) or traditional (third image). However, some of our suppliers produce non-ethnic designs; some contemporary (fourth image) and some modern (fifth image). Gold is the material used by most of our suppliers (sixth image). However, there is also a lot of silver jewelry (seventh image) as well as silver and gold (eighth mage).  

Some of these vendors are artisans that specialize in a very narrow product line. Others are manufacturers of diverse and broad product lines with hundreds (and even thousands) of unique jewelry styles. Most of the designs of Greek jewelers are inspired by a particular period in the long history of Greek jewelry, i.e., Ancient Greek (see the first image in the accompanying slide show), Byzantine (second image) or traditional (third image). However, some of our suppliers produce non-ethnic designs; some contemporary (fourth image) and some modern (fifth image) 

Gold is the material used by most of our suppliers (sixth image). However, there is also a lot of silver jewelry (seventh image) as well as silver and gold (eighth mage)

Cross pendants from Greece

One of our specialties is cross pendants: most are Orthodox (see the first image), many are Greek Orthodox (second image) and some are Russian or Serbian Orthodox (third image). We also have a sizable collection of high end contemporary crosses (fourth image).

Our collection includes gold crosses (fifth image), silver crosses (sixth image) as well as silver & gold crosses (seventh image). While most of our crosses do not contain stones (eighth image), some do (ninth image).

Our gold crosses come in 14K yellow gold (tenth image), 14K white gold (eleventh image), 14K yellow and white gold (twelfth image), 18K yellow gold (thirteenth image), 18K white gold (fourteenth image) as well as 22K yellow gold (fifteenth image).

Needless to say, we carry a full selection of 14k and 18K gold chains as well as sterling silver chains--plain as well as oxidized.

"Jesus Christ Victorious" Medalions

When a Greek Orthodox Christian becomes a godparent, s/he presents a gold baptismal cross to the godchild. Centuries ago, when Greece was part of the Ottoman empire, godparents would present a gold religious medallion--instead of a cross. These gold medallions would usually be designed and made to order. Rich godparents would ask for 22K or 24K gold while poor godparents would opt for less gold content (even 9K or 12K) and (rarely) even silver or amber. 

The earliest design depicted in these medallions was inspired by the original 24K gold coin of the Byzantine Empire. It was called a Konstantinanto--literally "the coin of [Emperor] Constantine"--because it was first struck by Emperor Constantine the Great (311-337 AD). Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor, later became Saint Constantine and Helen his mother, who in 326 AD discovered The Holy Cross in Jerusalem, became St. Helen. Like all Roman coins, it depicted Constantine on the obverse and winged victory on the reverse.

[Konstantinato (singular, Konstantinata plural) is spelled with a "K" because Constantine in Greek is Κωνσταντινος].

Starting in the 5th century AD Konstantinata assumed a distinct Christian style. Thus, on the obverse there was a depiction of Christ Pantokrator (in Greek, "Ruler of All") or Virgin Mary--see medallions GR 3079 & GR 3082--and on the reverse the image of the emperor (with or without the empress) along with the symbol of the cross--see medallion GR 3080.

Some of the low value coins of the Byzantine Empire were bronze so called "anonymous follis." They were anonymous because on the obverse, instead of Christ, they depicted a simple cross symbol along with the abbreviation of the phrase "Jesus Christ Wins" (or is Victorious). This abbreviation consists of ICXC (which is a Christogram, i.e., an abbreviation in Greek of "Jesus Christ") and the Greek word NIKA--which is the same root as the name of a popular brand name.

According to Orthodox tradition, this particular Christian image can be traced to a vision that Emperor Constantine claimed to have had the evening before the historic Battle of the Milvian Bridge on Oct. 28 312 AD. That is, he saw a cross of light above the sun with the Greek words "With This You Will Win." So, it is genarally believed that he ordered his troops to make banners with the symbols of his apparition and so he went on to beat his adversary, Maxentius.

Nowadays, the Konstantinata medallions are usually presented to the newly born child by the godparent-to-be in a symbolic effort to "goldify the child". So these medallions do not take the place of the traditional baptismal crosses but actually supplement them. They are usually round and made in 14K or 18K gold or 95% silver or sometimes in Gold and Silver (with or without enamel). On the obverse there is the cross and the letters IC (for "Jesus") in the upper left quadrant, the letters XC (for "Christ") in the upper right quadrant and the letters NIKA in the lower half. The reverse side has an embossed depiction of Saints Constantine and Helen on either side of the Holy Cross.