It’ never too late to get lucky, and wearing a beautifully designed Greek charm around your neck is always a great way to start the year. An ancient tradition to celebrate new beginnings (with good fortune, abundance, fertility, love and protection from negative energies) the gouri continues to make for a delightful gift to loved ones or your own sweet self. Here we have chosen stylish designs to suit all styles and tastes, inspired by ancient, Byzantine and modern Greek influences and created by talented local artists.
Lucky Dice by Tina Karagiorghi
Let it roll, baby, roll! This plexiglass dice hand-painted with gold is artist, writer, and jewellery designer Tina Karagiorghi’s inspiration sold at the Benaki Museum gift shop. The artist known for her works using a mixed technique says that the transparency of her objects “allows me to build a considerable visual and semantic depth”. Accompanying this unique and playful charm necklace is a note that writes “Lucky dice, every turn is lucky!”
Gold Oil Lamp by Maria Apostolopoulou
At the Cycladic Arts Museum gift shop, you can find several impressive lucky charm necklaces inspired by the exhibition “Crete. Emerging Cities: Aptera – Eleutherna – Knossos. Three ancient cities are reviving”. Symbolizing light, oil lamps were elaborately designed with carvings and made of various materials such as clay, marble or metal. On a deeper level, this charm, made of gold-plated silver, also represents the light of knowledge, truth, and life itself.
Hekatompedon-inspired charm by Kostas Dimopoulos
This is a gold-plated copper charm inspired by decorative details evocative of lotus flowers and painted palmettes as seen in the Hekatompedon, Athens’ first Parthenon (6th Century BC) temple. Sold at the Acropolis Museum (you can visit the Hekatompedon in the Archaic Gallery on the museum’s first floor) it represents the wisdom, flow and multifaceted natural beauty of ancient Greece.
Uroborus charm by Michalis Efstathiou
The esoteric symbol of Uroborus, depicting a name or dragon eating its own tale, originated in ancient Egypt before being introduced to Greece and later western culture (especially Celtic culture). The sterling silver serpent with a gold-plated snakehead. Used as an alchemical and mystical symbol, the duality of colour is thought to represent the duality of existence (such as the yin and yang of life) while its circular shame reflects the eternal nature of time. The snake has always symbolized healing, and in this particular design, the ‘rough’ skin is meant to portray transformation (as in, shedding of old skin to emerge anew). It can be bought online via the Oh! So Souvenir To Me website.
Muses charm by Zeus + Dione
A Greek clothing, accessories and jewellery brand named after the father and mother of the goddess Aphrodite, Zeus + Dione draws most of its inspiration from ancient Greek geometric and minimal designs, and particularly the triangular Delta symbol of spiritual harmony and creativity. Their good luck charms for 2019 are inspired by the belt in the traditional costume of Astypalia island and are named Muses (after the 9 muses). There are various renditions of the design, while the one we have chosen to show here is made of brass and has red stones and engraved details.
Good luck necklace by Katerina Psoma
Representative of the designer’s self-described “magpie-like nature of collecting various objects to create cute necklaces”, this handmade boho-chic piece has various good-luck chars hanging from it; a heart, for love, with the evil eye, for protection at its centre, the horn, a classical symbol of good fortune, a red ceramic bead for abundance and passion, and a blue tassle for fluency. It hangs on a brass metal charm and has gold plated metal amulets and black plated metal beads.
Star/Eye pendant charm by Thaleia Exarchou
Known for her unique artistry with gold, Exarchou has created a two-sided pendant that can be worn practically with everything, bringing instant light (and good vibes!). On the one side, she has engraved a blazing golden star, circled by bead-like metal decorations, and on the other the symbol of the eye, to ward off the evil eye.
Circle of Doves charm by Ilias Lalaounis
Said to have reintroduced to the modern world the archaic traditional Greek ritual of creating and selling gouri charms 50 years ago, the Lalaounis charm is indeed one of the most popular annual gifts to give in Greece. Created in various renditions, this year’s charm is inspired by a ceramic design from ancient Boetia (500-490 BC) depicting three doves resting on a wreath. In classical times doves represented peace, abundance, renaissance and renewal and Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty.