In Athenian jeweler Nikos Koulis’ work, you will observe materials, forms and influences that mirror a diachronic quality, intricate craftsmanship and an authentic design ethos. This talented designer firmly believes in clean lines and in light. “Jewels make you glow,” he says.
His love of Art Deco segues into his creativity. And he has found his own way to combine these Deco influences with a contemporary flair: Oui and Universe are two of his most characteristic collections. “I was looking for a distinctive element for my pieces, something that would establish Nikos Koulis signature. I found it in the black and translucent enamel, made with a traditional old Greek technique that makes it very resistant.”
Home for Koulis is Greece – and it feeds his inspiration. “There is an inherent Greek pure, electric flair in my creations balancing my austere Art Deco lines.” Koulis began designing white diamond pieces and founded his atelier in Athens. “The growth was organic; my pieces started selling in a beautiful boutique in Mykonos, so I gathered international clientele as well.”
Since the launch of his eponymous brand in 2006, Koulis has become more playful in blending materials – and bolder in his aesthetics. The evolution, he explains, is two-fold. “I am still impatient with my creativity as I was in my beginning; I want to keep making novelties, experiment and play with ideas. I don’t want to follow the easy way.”
Much of the designer’s effort has been trained on ensuring his jewels rest comfortably on the body. “I am obsessed with the piece’s structure, fluidity and soft finishing touches. I can’t stand rigidness and lack of delicacy or sensuality.” This obsession shines through the more recent Feelings collection (launched in 2019), a sensational assortment of tactile, red-carpet worthy jewelry. Koulis has pushed the boundaries of what’s doable in gold with his imagination and artistry.
His amazing narrative and subtle details hinge on his motto: “Create beauty with timeless value.” Koulis’ sophisticated designs are enriched in enamel and the “imperfections of emeralds” along with no-heat rubies and blue sapphires. Natural diamonds feature consistently in his creative palette. What significance do natural diamonds hold for you? “For me, diamonds are products from the earth; a precious gift to our civilization. I always seek for natural, ethically mined diamonds and I believe in their timeless value. I use them in my pieces not only because of their value, but because they convey an immaterial quality too, feelings, symbols and grace.” The designer adores diamonds in special cuts like trapezoids, kites and shields.
Jewelry, for Koulis, is an enchanting world: “full of whimsy and wit.” “I can’t imagine myself outside the jewelry universe,” he says. Neither can we!
What inspired the V Collection hoops and Oui diamond earrings (from the NDC campaign)
NK: Art Deco with a contemporary, cool flair. I want women who wear my pieces to feel confident and radiant.
How would you have women style these pieces?
NK: I love jewelry because they can last forever. Women often either see fine jewelry as heirlooms or as accessories. I believe that they should own pieces that speak to them, reflecting their personality. I love when women wear their jewelry every day, not just at special occasions, and when they mix old with new.
What would you recommend as a way to incorporate jewelry into a day look or a glamorous night out?
NK: There’s no universal proposition. Each woman has her personality, and her jewelry must reflect it. I love earrings because they make every woman’s face glow. Jewelry make any look more interesting, so I would suggest to women to be liberated when they wear and combine jewelry.
What is your first ever diamond memory?
NK: Absolute fascination when I first saw its sparkle and infinite potential. An absolutely magical material, interacting with light, with one’s body, with its surroundings.