Get to Know … Ileana Makri

Athens, Greece—based Ileana Makri makes jewelry that people immediately understand. For example, superstitious inhabitants of Mediterranean countries recognize the evil eye as a symbol that wards off negative energy. Replicas of sandals and skateboards bring to mind carefree times and leisure activities, while guns and hinged hand grenades that open represent societal paranoia and fear of terrorist threats. And a tiny toilet—with a lid and seat that both lift—stands for "all the things [junk television and magazines] that should be flushed down the toilet," says Makri. "Symbolism is a universal language that's stronger than words." In her teens Makri collaborated with a Greek manufacturer to get her first pieces made. As an adult, she opened a gift shop with an international flavor and, in 1996, she launched her first jewelry collection. Now, Greek bench jewelers help bring Makri
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