Dimitris Virtsionis and Antigoni Leakou are both designers and jewelry-makers. They bring together their creative ideas and crafting skills in order to produce unique artifacts based on their own designs. In 2012 they set up a workshop in order to house their individual brands – ‘Dimitris Virtsionis Jewelry’ and ‘Alanima’, respectively – under the same roof. Soon after they joined forces, creating ‘Oh my pebble’, a brand dedicated to jewelry made primarily with sea-pebbles, a material they both love.
They aspire to offer innovative jewelry designs of high quality, albeit affordable at the same time. They approach with the same respect all of the raw materials they use, valuable or not, creating unique jewelry with a special character. Their creations vary from sophisticated timeless designs to refreshing funky jewelry, always with a contemporary twist.
The creative chaos which reigns in their small and functional workshop is a source of inspiration and love for them, within which they let their designs blossom and take form. It is located in the city of Kalamata, which is in South Peloponnese, Greece. It has the necessary infrastructure, as well as the right ambiance for the transformation of their ideas into high-quality artifacts. Everything starts with the creative design and the assemblage of the raw materials. By manufacturing the metal alloys, themselves they can control the quality in all of the stages of production. Traditional techniques for handmade jewelry are combined with modern methods, while a good measure of creativity and innovation has resulted in the development of dedicated tools and machinery, as dictated by the needs of their unique designs.
Dimitris Virtsionis was born and raised in Athens. His inclination towards art was obvious from an early age, manifesting through visual expression and music. The sculptural and functional qualities of jewelry-making finally won him over, leading him to take up apprenticeships under distinguished goldsmiths, eventually mastering the associated techniques in depth. He worked for more than 15 years as a bench technician, designer, and model manufacturer for various workshops and brands.
He created his own workshop in 2010 and in 2012 he transferred it to Kalamata so that he could be near the sea, a basic source of inspiration for his jewelry, but also for his music which always retained a significant role in his life.
As a designer, he has a preference for clear forms, as much for their geometrical expression as for their organic natural development. He combines the creative power of nature with the formative power of design giving life to timeless jewelry with a contemporary touch. He designs and manufactures a series of unique jewelry pieces made from scratch in his workshop. He is focused on detail, producing carefully handcrafted and conceptually designed creations.
Custom-made orders are a special challenge that he loves to undertake – this way he can create jewelry that gives form to an idea and carry symbolism for a specific person or cause.
The materials he uses vary according to the occasion. Gold and silver alternate with copper and bronze and are adorned with precious and semi-precious stones, but also with plain pebbles. He uses enamel to add color and transparency to his creations and his palette is complemented with plain material, like resin and threads.
Antigoni leakou was born and raised in Athens. As a child she always imagined herself in the field of Arts. Later on she discovered that she also liked disciplines that required technical skills, so she was trained as an art conservator at the University of West Attica. To complement that with theoretical knowledge she also studied Theory and History of Art at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She worked for many years in both fields, as a conservator of antiquities for the Greek Ministry of Culture and as an assistant curator in contemporary art exhibitions. During the same period she also started funneling her creativity through designing and creating jewelry. What started as a hobby, initially, finally became the primary focus in her professional life. In 2008 she teamed up with the artist Laura Perez-Ortega to create “Alanima”, sharing their fascination for unexpected color combinations in contemporary handmade jewelry. In 2012 she moved to Kalamata and joined Dimitris Virtsionis in his workshop. She designs fresh and funky, eye-catching jewelry that simply cannot pass unnoticed. Her work is characterized by vibrant colors and curves combined with geometrical patterns, a contradiction which she loves and which often leads to abstract forms. She believes that joyful and playful designs have a positive impact on people’s mood and her best reward is seeing them taking pleasure in wearing her jewelry. Her artisan, handcrafted jewelry often draws inspiration from the traditions and folk art of Latin America and Africa, but also from modernist movements like Fauvism and Expressionism. She also enjoys hand-picking and matching all the remarkable sea pebbles which are subsequently transformed into “Oh my pebble” jewelry. Her designs respect the natural forms and emphasize the aesthetic qualities of the raw material.