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1970s ZOLOTAS 22K Gold Red Coral Necklace

Item ID:4916

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Item description:

Important and rare vintage 1970s ZOLOTAS 22K hammered gold, natural saltwater pearls and creamy red coral beads necklace in their typical Ilias Lalaounis neo Byzantine style of ancient Greek antiquity. This has been a part of Zolotas’ early high jewelry collections and is an uniquely made piece to a custom order. The whole necklace composition is crafted in 22 karat hand hammered gold with 2 strands of numerous (72 pieces in total) coral beads (roughly about 8.5mm in diameter each), adorned by a magnificent and large stylized Byzantine cross pendant consisting of 4 large red coral cabochon pieces (each one about 16.5mm in diameter), as well as 4 natural saltwater pearls at the tip of the four hand-wound 22K gold wire rays. All pearls possess a great white color and even shape (a bit off-round to about drop shape) and measure 8.5x8.1mm to 7.5x6.8mm. The necklace has a length of about 350mm (14”) when fully stretched. The pendant resembles a stylized Byzantine Orthodox cross similar to other examples known from museum collections and measures a spectacular and large 72.5mm across tips (about 2.85”). The pendant is crafted in the typical and well known from Greek antiquity to middle ages ancient Byzantine’s goldsmith style, comprising gold granulation techniques, miniature gold wire swirls, etc. The reverse of the piece is hallmarked for 22K gold, as well as marked with the Zolotas maker’s mark depicting two playing dolphins. The weight of the 22 karat gold stand alone is over 60 grams, while gross weight of the whole necklace is 115 grams. The necklace comes with its original Zolotas velvet case signed "la chrysotheque Zolotas" in embossed gold letters. The present Zolotas necklace is an emblematic fashion design of the 1970s period and shows how the high jewelry concept of one of world’s most famous jewelry houses represents the classic designs of ancient Greek antiquity and Byzantine motifs into one of the firm’s centerpieces. The Greek jewelry houses of Zolotas and Ilias Lalaounis have been for years rivals, in terms of jewelry design and fashion tendencies, to other important jewelry firms like Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Bulgari, etc. All these have their own high jewelry concepts and designs, but the collector and aesthete can clearly notice the common concepts that are followed by all these firms during the periods starting from the 1950s Retro styles to the 1970s Space Age and neo-classic designs. Founded in 1895, the Greek firm Zolotas is recognized for its meticulous reproductions of ancient and Byzantine jewelry as well as its own designs. In the 1960s, Zolotas's richly textured 18k yellow gold designs brought to life fantastic lions, snakes and rams taken from sculptures, embroidery and architectural patterns of ancient times. The style was purely Greek. This grand display of the love of country and Hellenic culture attracted International recognition as celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly along with the social and political elite, including the Kennedys, and shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis sought Zolotas creations. The ever-evolving company began crafting spectacular jewels in 22k gold as of the 1970s. Their contemporary designs, in both 18k and 22k gold, showcase interesting textures and finishes in combination with colorful gem accents. The company continues to preserve the sense of history that has been the cornerstone of the Zolotas business with boutiques, both in Greece and abroad. Brief history of the Zolotas jewelry firm (Courtesy – Zolotas’ site): ZOLOTAS house of jewelry has been writing history in the Decorative Arts since 1895. The house’s distinctive rings, drop earrings, necklaces and bracelets have been in the front line for more than a century. During the beginning of the 20th century the Zolotas store very quickly became the meeting point of all the Athenian elite. Zolotas’ masterpieces became necessary accessories for elegance. Every engagement, every wedding gave birth to new creations that recorded the jeweler's talent in time. In 1910, Zolotas had already become one of the biggest suppliers. For the coronation of King George V of England, he created jewels and tiaras made of platinum and diamonds for the Greek royal family. In the late 50s Xenofon Zolotas decided to make the genius novelty of ZOLOTAS trademark, equal to that of the most famous French and American firms. He trusted the business managers at that time who had been chosen from the family relationships, to lead the jewelry tradition of his country, the heritage of six thousand years of history, to the tempo of the modern times. It was an inspiration coming directly from the Greek cultural heritage, merged with a modern style; co-existence of the old techniques and the original know-how possessed by the house’s craftsmen, the most skilled craftsmen in gold processing. Thus the most unique jewelry in the form of lions, rams, bulls, snakes were introduced – identical to findings of the 6th, 5th and 4th century B.C., when the Greek art was at its pinnacle. During these centuries, the wealth spreading to a very broad part of the population in Greek cities drove public life to luxury, where jewels became more and more sophisticated and elegant. Coming in two versions - one in 22 carats gold with forged or rough surface and the other in 22 carats gold with valuable stones – the symbols of good fortune, power for the lion, richness for the ram and fertility for the bull fascinate the customers. Success came quickly. Throughout the 60s, Zolotas found satisfaction in knitting his pure, gold threads around women’s wrists, transforming them into modern goddesses. The myth was born. The myth gave birth to an unprecedented legend. Among all the prestigious customers from all around the world that honored ZOLOTAS with their preference, the one that cannot be left unmentioned is Aristotle Onassis. He preferred choosing presents for his most beloved friends and demanded exclusivity for the ladies he was emotionally involved with. He revealed the scarcity of Greek luxury to the ex First Lady of the United States, Jackie Kennedy. Based on the image of the ancient Greeks, who sacrificed rams to gain the gods' favor, legend has it that Aristotle Onassis, when he wanted to ask for forgiveness for some mistake he might have made, he bought his wife round earrings, rings or necklaces decorated with rams. In the early 70s, ZOLOTAS is established as well in Paris, on Saint Honoré Street. During that time he invites Paloma Picasso and Claude Lalanne to create a limited number of jewels, inspired from nature. In Paris, like in Athens where exhibitions take place, Paloma Picasso presents the necklaces and bracelets she designed for ZOLOTAS, made of massif gold, in the shape of daisy petals and bracelets with the faces of the moon. The sophisticated gold processing school of ZOLOTAS' master craftsmen provides the young creator's talent with a unique opportunity for promotion. Claude Lalanne unfolded the golden leaves of laurel in long necklaces, which she made into belts and matched them with chains for the ankles. For the ladies ears, she designed infinite crinums. A cultural shock that was even more magnified from an in-depth study of the country’s history and tradition, gave Ronald Mc Namer the opportunity to reach the deepest parts of ZOLOTAS’ soul. The New Yorker jewelry designer was working for Tiffany's in the United States. In 1975, he gladly accepted an invitation to create his own tradition at ZOLOTAS house. For him, the creation of a jewel for ZOLOTAS was much more of a challenge rather than anything else. His talent as a designer could not be compared with any other’s and his fervor to be in constant interaction with the atelier led to the creation of necklaces and rings delicately harmonized in 22 carats gold, most often forged. Audacity: throughout these years, when the price of gold tripled and the competition restrained the fluctuations in the metals' prices, ZOLOTAS played with volume and shape, minimizing representation’: absolute simplicity in sizes. The necklaces decorated the women’s chests; the bracelets covered their wrists; the earrings framed their faces and the rings sculptured their fingers. Once again Zolotas brings evolution to modern jewelry art. An inexhaustible source of admiration, the ancient Greek civilization, is once more in the centre of these new pieces’ finesse. The meander, the spiral, the fleuron, elements of ancient architecture, characteristics of the Dorian, the Ionian and the Corinthian orders, are depicted by ZOLOTAS with great pleasure. Zolotas' architecturally inspired jewelry was forged on 22 carats gold. Jewels with volume, dramatic, that caused the women who chose them the pleasure of provocation and excess, the sense that they belong to the star system.


$18000.00 / €12857.14




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