Grandpa Family is our way to highlight creative, interesting and ambitious people in our vicinity. This time we met with Swedish jewelry brand founder Eleni of IAMELENI.

Eleni left ten years of working within the fashion industry behind and started up with jewelry as a way of recovery, and it turned into redemption. Read the interview below, where she talks about her driving forces, what inspires her and why she came to work with jewelry.

How did it all start?

It was either just chance or destiny. Pursuing a hectic career in the fashion industry, I returned back to work from maternity leave and carried on as usual. Turns out stress accumulates, which I found out one day when I found myself physically and mentally unable to go to work. It felt like someone had pulled the ground rather than the rug from under my feet.

Whilst on sick-leave I attended a course on silver smithing. This quickly went from a simple pastime into an oasis, free of shame and anxiety. I rented a working space learning the work by my own until I found SMID, the workshop we’re standing in right now. For about a year I worked as a trainee here and had my company as a side job before starting full-time with IAMELENI in September of 2018. Smithing helped me get back on my feet and it feels like I’ve been growing stronger just as my company has.

What signifies your products?

All the jewelry are made from recycled metals. For me this is a matter of the heart. I mostly work in sterling silver and 18k gold and I only buy material from ethically conscious companies.

Jewelry made from precious metals are long lasting and can be used for years and years, be polished up and then be like new again. As for my design aesthetics, I keep it clean with interesting details that communicate strength and enhances the wearers own style. I use geometric and graphic shapes, often with passes to what can be found in nature.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration everywhere. Everyday life, in my Greek heritage, from music, nature and especially the ocean that I love and has this calming effect on us. Even dreams. I also made a collection inspired by the time I was burned-out named Meltdown.

In a sense, the jewelry I make are an extension of myself, I design and produce the jewelry I would like to wear myself. And my wish is of caurse is that you guys will wear them too!

What’s your favorite material?

I love silver because of the color and the rughness iand gold since it’s easier and such a pleasure to work with. I like all precious metals for their sustainability och quality.

Other than that I’m obsessed with gemstones – especially diamonds, in all shapes! I also love emeralds for the insanely beautiful color, not to mention the green sapphire which are unfortunately really hard to find. Basically, there’s a whole world of beautiful gems out there.

How do you wear jewelry?

All the jewelry are made from recycled metals. For me this is a matter of the heart. I mostly work in sterling silver and 18k gold and I only buy material from ethically conscious companies.

I wear a lot of it, and at all times. I feel undressed without them, and often add layers on layers. (Big earrings, a lot of rings, necklaces and bracelets. )

What are your thoughts on collabs?

I love collaborations and working with other creative people. It’s such an experience every time. The result often turns out not what you’d imagined it to be, but much better.

I’ve got a few projects going on at the moment. One with Kajsa Åman, a really talented goldsmith and collegue, where we’re putting together a collection of tiaras. Another colab with creative illustrator Fanny Shultz where we ́ve made a limited edition necklace launching in just a few days!

Any feedback to those interested in giving smithing a go?

Just do it! It’s not just fun, but also very therapeutic. It’s The best thing I ́ve done, apart from my children of caurse. ;)

Describe your personal style

I would describe it like a lot like my persona, hard but soft! I love patterns and colors and today I’d rather wear something that makes me happy than all dressed in black like I did when I was younger. Natural and soft fabrics and accessories and jewelry is of caurse a must, it ́s the small details that makes a style yours and unique.

What are your favorite products from Grandpa?

Walking into Grandpa to me feels like walking into a friend’s living room. Among the favorite pieces right now are the Erna denim coat from Rodebjer, the Ganni Cedar dress in Leo print and basically everything from A Part of the Art – everything is so confy! And since I love interior design, I also like the Life Store department, there’s always something quirky that caughts my interest or a new poster to put on our wall at home.

Follow Eleni:

IG: @iameleni_jewellery


Video by Christoffer Paavilainen

A special thanks to SMID Stockholm