Article from Hellenic Life about Elena Votsi

Greece’s Olympic Artist

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Elena Votsi is not your typical jewelry designer!  She is a creative artist waiting for the next big challenge.  From minimal geometric styles to Olympic medallions we think that she deserves a medal too!

How did she get started and what great achievements has she already conquered…. read on to find out!!!

Elena Votsi rings

How did you decide to start a jewelry brand?

I knew from early in life on what I wanted to be involved with.  I had no doubt and thankfully I had the whole heartedly support of my parents who are always by my side and who encouraged my every step.  I was always fascinated by my mother’s jewelry and of her friends.  Looking at them always took me on enchanted journey to a magical world.  From about the age of 12 or 13 I knew that I wanted to design jewelry. Thus with a lot of love and studying, and  a lot of hard work and valuable advice from some great teachers that I have had, I was able to make my dreams come true!

Votsi diamond heart earings

What was your very first creation?

It was a line of eight rings made with plastic and silver that I wore separately on each finger (four on one hand and four on the other).  From a very young age I liked rings and could never just wear one.  I like the combinations!

Would you like to expand your brand to include other kinds of products besides jewelry or have you ever worked with different products?

When I designed for the House of Gucci with the guidance of Tom Ford, my work was to design not only jewelry but various other accessories.  From candlesticks, frames, baby rattles, to letter openers, egg holders and belts.  I always liked to design things other than jewelry.  It is just that jewelry was always something that I could wear myself, something that I could enjoy in my everyday life and finally a beautiful way for a woman to decorate herself, making her feel happy and special.

Are you influenced by architecture as your jewelry has this special element to them; they are geometrical, spacial and structured?

I’ve always liked minimal designs.  Busy and chaotic styles do not match the way that I think and create.  I like simple designs, clean elements and elegant finishing touches.  From the moment that I began designing, during my studies and my drawing classes at the School of Fine Arts and my Master’s studying jewelry at the Royal College of Art, I’ve always been faithful to my vision.  Bold and clean lines, timeless and strict shapes that don’t lose their femininity yet that strengthen and highlight the woman wearing them.

Elena Votsi ball ring

You have some truly unique rings!  Where do you get your inspiration from when designing them?

I love wearing jewelry myself and they are my go to choice after earnings. There is something about decorating your hand which moves and communicates.  I feel like by wearing rings you are decorating your whole self. Inspiration it is always something I welcome in my life. It comes in unexpected moments like when I’m sitting in a taxi looking out of the window, walking on a pebbled road in Hydra or while I’m watching the waves, or when I’m observing the shapes created when a shadow reflects on a whitewashed wall.

Elena Votsi Gold Ring

Does your shop on the beautiful and special island of Hydra differ fro you Kolonaki shop?  does it have more of an island feel?

The shop Kolonaki  (Athens) has the same philosophy as the shop in Hydra.  On Hydra it is simply a little smaller and more humble and suited to for the needs of a town that has a enjoys simple designs and a warm friendly space.  The store in Kolonaki often transforms into my office.  It is a place where we have meetings, where we see our friends who have been following us over the years, a place I go to relax, and also where we discuss new designs and new business ventures.

I prefer this space more than my home office because I can be with my colleagues and make future plans. 

Considering that the store in Hydra has a view of the ocean gives you an idea about what sort of emotions I feel when being in that particular space.  A child once wrote in my visitors book “I’m happy this store exists in Hydra because I know where I can always find my mom…”  I think this says it all!


Hydra Shop Elena Votsi

The Hydra shop is our small summer piece of paradise.  It ’s our shelter getaway for all of our friends, famous or non famous people looking for a break and a trip to a world filled with what we enjoy.  And I genuinely thank everyone for their love and trust that they have shown to us over all of these years giving us the strength to carry on.


Hydra Island

Do you have a favorite piece from your entire collection?

The truth is that I love all of my designs since I don’t make anything that I wouldn’t wear myself.  There are some pieces that I love more than others because they are harder to make or the materials are harder to find.  There are especially unique, one of kind pieces, that are really hard for me to separate from but it also makes me so happy to see a woman truly appreciating and want these pieces in their collection.  The first piece that comes to mind is a choker that is made from iron and 22k gold which weighed approximately 1.5 kgs.  It was a unique piece which we put in our window in Hydra one afternoon and was sold by the time evening came.  I didn’t even have a chance to take a photograph of if for our records.  I will never forget that piece or the woman who bought it!

What do you want your clients to feel when buying Elena Votsi jewelry?  What do you want your brand to convey to them?

I really like when a client comes back!  Usually they tell us that they have heard great comments each time they travel abroad and people stop them to ask them what jewelry they are wearing.  I think that is the biggest reward for us.  I want the women that wear our jewelry to feel special, confident, beautiful and unique, just like I did when my parents bought me a piece of jewelry on trips. 

Last summer an Italian fashion designer, that I know who I also think is the last emperor of fashion, revisited our shop in Hydra with a yacht filled with people of all ages including children.  It happened that I was there that day and they shook my hand telling me that “we stopped in Hydra before going to Mykonos just so that we could show our children something beautiful on our trip to Greece, to meet you and for the mothers that admire your work to get something special”.  Maybe this can begin to explain to you how I feel toward my every client that enters the store, from every age group, and takes home something of ours.

Votsi blue earings

Did you ever dream that you would bed a designer and that your pieces would be available all over the world?

No I never dreamed of something like that.  I always dreamed of being worthy enough to design and to do what I love the most.  I like working and devoting time to new jewelry.  I like to go to the workshop to be with the workers and to design pieces that make women feel beautiful.  I never had big dreams but I always had an appetite for hard work and for creation.  Even when I faced difficulties I never doubted myself and I never gave up.  It wasn’t that I was dreaming of something big but I knew I couldn’t be happy if I wasn’t designing. Whether or not the end result was a positive one is something I owe to the people who trusted me and followed me all of these years.

Votsi heart necklaces

Do you have any new plans that you’d like to share or something great that has recently happened?

Something very exciting that has come up in the past few weeks is a cooperation with NET-A-PORTER.  Also at the beginning of summer you will be able to find us in Las Vegas for our exhibition.

Of course we will also be again in Hydra this summer where one can usually find me throughout July and August spending many hours at the store!

There is something else new on my mind for the future but it is too early to announce at this point. 

I am believer in careful and slow steps.  I never rushed myself for anything in my career and this is something that helped me from reducing stress as well as enjoying each moment with all the time necessary for each step.

Arrow double ring Votsi

Votsi arrow earings

How did you feel and what does it mean to you that you were awarded the honor of designing the Olympic medals in 2004 something that hasn’t been done since 1928?

I think that this was the greatest honor in my career.  It was something that I didn’t expect to happen as it was an international competition, and therefore I just accepted it without a doubt and without even considering the length of this project.  The most magical moment was definitely when it was announced that the first side would remain the same from thereafter in all Olympic Games!  This was honestly something indescribable and a special honor that I will forever hold in my heart with emotion and love!

Athens 2004 medals

How long did it take you to create the design for the Olympic medal and what were elements that you wanted to include in it?  

The first design that came to my mind and the first draft that I actually drew on paper ended up being the final product that I turned in to the committee.  I did try to create two other designs due to the pressure of such an important project, but in the end my first design was the one I submitted.

Some basic elements were given to us by the committee which they asked us to include in our designs.  However after that point we were free to move in any direction we wanted to as designers.

The only sure thing from a personal point of view was that I wanted to use Greek letters on the back of the metals even if they were hard to understand.  I believed and I still believe that Greek letters gave us global words such as democracy and philosophy therefore needed to be present on the medals. I’m happy that finally this was something that was appreciated and became accepted so warmly by the Olympic committee and the Committee of Immortals.

Olympic Gold Medal

How does it make you feel knowing that the top athletes of the world have a medal hanging in their homes that they cherish and when they look at it it is your design that they see?

I will always feel in awe whenever I watch the Olympic games knowing that the rewards that are given to the top athletes are medals that I had the honor of designing .  Of course the Olympic games in Athens gave me an even stronger feeling!  But also realizing that I know that these athletes will have taken home something that I was a part of is emotional for me as well!  I think this feeling is indescribable and I feel especially proud not only as a artist but as a Greek every time one looks at their medals thinking about the strength of the Greek society, Greek history, Greek language, and a nation that started something so big, so wonderful and so perfect!!!

Andy Murray medal

Beijing Olympic medal


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