IOANNA SOU­FLIA talks about her un­usual path to jew­ellery de­sign and her love for mar­ble.


Lawyer to jew­eller is a big leap – one that Greek-born Ioanna Sou­flia was brave enough to take. A point of ref­er­ence that me­an­ders through her work, con­ceived as wear­able art, re­lies heavily upon logic and imag­i­na­tion. Who would have thought law would un­der­score the con­tem­po­rary aes­thetic of her de­but line, In Be­tween – a Cen­tral Saint Martins grad­u­a­tion project and an im­pas­sioned di­a­logue be­tween mar­ble and rhodium-plated silver. “The strict logic that law re­quires” was melded with the “imag­i­na­tion that jew­ellery re­lies upon” for her sculp­tural pieces fea­tur­ing crisp lines and luscious forms with graphic lin­ear pat­terns. It was an in­trigu­ing way of high­light­ing the beauty of mar­ble, be­sides be­ing a great demonstration of the “space be­tween the three cat­e­gories of jew­ellery – fine, con­tem­po­rary and fash­ion – and where they might meet.” A note­wor­thy de­but! Maia Adams took note of Ioanna’s ready-to-wear-sculp­tures and in­tro­duced her to fash­ion de­signer Jean-Pierre Bra­ganza. “Col­lab­o­rat­ing with him was one of those things where ev­ery­thing fell into place – at an un­ex­pected time,” re­calls the jew­eller.

Ioanna was in­tent on carv­ing a niche with a ma­te­rial as dis­tinct as her vi­sion. “It is my strong belief that the ma­te­ri­als cho­sen to re­alise an idea play an im­por­tant role in em­body­ing the sen­ti­ments one wishes to con­vey through one’s work.” Mar­ble, for Ioanna, there­fore served mul­ti­ple pur­poses: the dif­fi­culty of fab­ri­ca­tion em­bod­ied her pre­vi­ous dis­ci­pline, Law, while also pos­ing a cre­ative chal­lenge. “I can­not get past the in­ti­mate feel­ing be­tween the hands and the tac­tile, cold nat­u­ral stone that grad­u­ally adapts into a form,” ad­mits the de­signer, who is led by an un­con­scious al­lure of her child­hood mem­o­ries and a Greek her­itage.

As a new­comer, Ioanna faced her share of chal­lenges while evolv­ing a unique cre­ative iden­tity. It was a dif­fi­cult task, given her choice of ma­te­rial: procur­ing mar­ble, se­cur­ing a high-level of crafts­man­ship, and trans­lat­ing her de­signs into tan­gi­ble ob­jects of the finest qual­ity. The ini­tial hur­dle, though, was fig­ur­ing out how to man­u­fac­ture the mar­ble com­po­nents of her jew­ellery us­ing Tha­sos and Bardiglio Im­pe­ri­ale mar­bles.

Sourced from the Greek is­land of Tha­sos, its name­sake is soft and easy to carve on, while Bardiglio Im­pe­ri­ale, ob­tained from Italy, is tough to work with. “I learned how to carve the stone in or­der to have to­tal con­trol of the

out­come,” says Ioanna, work­ing out of her stu­dio in Paris. Sketches are trans­lated into tech­ni­cal draw­ings; for the more de­mand­ing sculp­tural pieces, she per­fects the model done ei­ther in wax or Sty­ro­foam. The fi­nal de­signs are then sent to her work­shop in Athens.

The quest for new ways to show­case mar­ble led to her sec­ond col­lec­tion, Sym­bio­sis. Con­trast­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and di­verse vis­ual stim­uli con­verged at the Amal­gama, Krama, Syn­er­gia and Sym­bio­sis rings, ear­rings and cuffs – sub­tly ac­cented with black di­a­monds – a vis­ual an­tithe­sis that evolved into Sym­bio­sis. The white Tha­sos mar­ble and its pu­rity lay veiled by the stark con­trast of edgy black gold, as Ioanna chose to high­light the sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship of modern adorn­ments through ma­te­ri­als as con­tra­dic­tory as mar­ble and gold.

For the more fem­i­nine Adoucisse­ment col­lec­tion, crafted in rose gold, she tricked out the soft grey Bardiglio Im­pe­ri­ale mar­ble in grey and white di­a­monds – dis­till­ing the warmth of the blush­ing grey skies into the jew­ellery. The Greek el­e­gance that she poured into her geo­met­ric vi­sions – of­ten rem­i­nis­cent of an­cient columns, pil­lars and mar­bled arches – trans­lated into crisp lines and fem­i­nine curves in her next work. The lim­ited edi­tion Adieu, an el­e­gant farewell to mar­ble, saw the sculpted white Tha­sos mar­ble and grey Bardiglio Im­pe­ri­ale mar­ble take cen­tre stage along­side white and grey brilliant-cut di­a­monds, em­bed­ded on a plat­form of rose and black gold.

Launched in late 2017, Blue­print tra­versed an ur­ban land­scape of grids, lines and in­ter­sec­tions. The idea for the se­ries, says Ioanna, came about dur­ing one of her trips to her work­shop (in Athens). “I was look­ing up at the blue sky through a bridge de­signed by San­ti­ago Cala­trava, a see-through sculp­ture with the ca­bles of the bridge form­ing a pat­tern as if on the sky.” The Blue­print col­lec­tion, made in rose gold, was con­ceived as her jew­elled overview of “how ar­chi­tec­ture shapes our vi­sion of the sky and ul­ti­mately reveals a piece of blue". Her in­spi­ra­tion trav­elled through the skies of Greece to land in Paris, where she cur­rently lives. A de­par­ture from her sig­na­ture mar­ble pieces, the grid pat­terned rings, ear­rings, cuff ban­gles, and neck­laces – gen­tly adorned with di­a­monds – ref­er­enced the sky through the step­cut tri­an­gu­lar mid­night blue sap­phire gems. “I specif­i­cally sourced these dark blue sap­phires as they re­minded me of luscious blue velvet.”

Her new­est ini­tia­tive is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with award-win­ning fel­low jew­eller Yan­nis Ser­gakis. “Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from each other’s works, we de­cided to unite cre­ative forces and pro­duce a col­lec­tion for men that could also be worn by women,” she ex­plains. Crafted in 9-karat rose, yel­low and rhodium-plated white gold, the Mar­ble pour Homme cuff­links – avail­able in six styles – fea­ture deep green mar­ble from the is­land of Ti­nos and the white ver­sion from Tha­sos. These cuff­links will ap­peal to those with a love of the un­usual. With avant-garde de­signs em­body­ing geo­met­ric min­i­mal­ism, Ioanna con­tin­ues to chal­lenge tra­di­tional hall­marks of fine jew­ellery.

1) Adoucisse­ment ear­rings in rose gold with Bardiglio Im­pe­ri­ale mar­ble and di­a­monds. 2) Amal­gama pen­dant crafted with 9-karat black gold and 925 silver, and set with Tha­sos mar­ble and black di­a­monds. 3) Amal­gama ear­rings crafted in 14-karat black gold and set with Tha­sos mar­ble and grey di­a­monds.

1-4) The ring, pen­dants and a pair of ear­rings in 14-karat rose gold set with grey Bardiglio Im­pe­ri­ale mar­ble and grey brilliant-cut di­a­monds from the Adoucisse­ment line.5) Adieu ear­rings in 14-karat rose and black gold set with Tha­sos and Bardiglio Im­pe­ri­ale mar­ble and grey brilliant-cut di­a­monds.6) Mar­ble pour Homme cuff­links in 9-karat gold.

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