The nine-month-old jewelry line from Jena Prounis is being described as “soft, yet strong.” The gold, a soft combination of silver, copper, and 22-karat gold, has a “buttery” glow, and the jewelry itself is said to “take on the life of the wearer.” The designer herself says, “Your skin’s oils polish the gold over the years, but it also shows the knicks and knacks of everyday life.”
Speaking of her rings, bracelets, and chain necklaces, she explains, “It lives with you, like a second skin.”
With her paternal grandparents growing up in Greece before immigrating to New York, Jean explains that she was inspired by their Greek heritage. “When I was growing up, my grandfather was in love with his Greek heritage,” she says.
“He had such a large library on Greek culture, from art to jewelry to architecture, and seeing all of those books really left an impression on me. I see it now in my designs and even my branding—it’s funny when you realize what impacted you growing up.”
In all of Prounis’s work, the Greek details are evident with each piece feeling rustic and elegant, but there is also an element of New York influence in there too. With her grandparents arriving in New York in the 1930s, they opened the Versailles Club which became a famous hang-out.
“I’m so thankful that my grandfather kept all of these relics [from that era],” Prounis says. Having taken inspiration from this, the jewelry designer made her brand’s dominant color sage green, which was pulled from the dining room tablecloths.
With every piece from the line handmade in New York, Jean is continuing to bridge the Mediterranean with the East River. “I love the history of New York’s jewelry district, but it isn’t as strong as it once was,” she explains. “One day I’m hoping to have a team of jewelers here to carry on the legacy.”
She continues, “When jewelry is made by hand, there’s more attention paid to the integrity and engineering of a piece. Even the way it feels on your finger, all of those little details are more involved in the handmade process, which inherently adds to the longevity of a piece. My intention is to make jewelry you can really wear every day, but will last for thousands of years.”