By Apostolis Zoupaniotis
NEW YORK, N.Y.- Five of Cyprus’ most talented jewelry designers-manufacturers participated in the JA International Jewelry Exhibition that took place from July 27 to July 30 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Cypriot exhibitors presented a wide range of pieces, including gold and silver necklaces, chains, bracelets, rings, earrings and pendants as well as watches, many set with diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones.
Styles were varied and included handcrafted replicas of antique masterpieces as well as gold contemporary forms. Among the Cypriot exhibitors, one presented handcrafted sterling silver icons based on originals that have been saved in the churches and monasteries of Cyprus.
“The International Jewelry Exhibition is the largest jewelry show in the United States,” Cyprus Trade Commissioner Dennis Droushiotis said.
The Cypriot official explained that Cyprus’ participation in the exhibition is not only an effort to increase exports to the United States. “We are also exposing our cultural heritage through jewelry,” he noted.
Droushiotis said, “the jewelry industry in Cyprus has long roots. It goes back for thousands of years. It has been handed down from father to son.
“We see an increase of over 62% in jewelry exports from 2001 and 2002. I’m very happy we have a strong industry of jewelers, and I think that were going to see increases in the next three to four years,” Droushiotis added.
The five Cypriot manufacturers are: Jewelry Emerald, M.C. Jewelry, Nicos Ioannou, Stelios, and A&E Ltd.
Panicos Chasicos, of Jewelry Emerald, brought to the show sterling silver replicas of very old icons, dating back to the 6th, 12th and 17th centuries and kept in the churches and monasteries of Cyprus. Among them, the icons of Panayia Machaira, Panayia Faneromeni, Panayia of Kykkos, the Christ of Arakos and a silver cross, 1.5 meters tall.
It is the second year that Mr. Chasicos has exhibited in the JA show, and the results have been good. Chasicos expressed his gratitude for the assistance from the Cyprus Trade Office and its director Mr. Droushiotis.
Yannos Ioannou, chief designer for Nicos Ioannou Jewelers, represents a company created by his father Nick, an artist with 60 years of experience. They have their own factory, where they develop their products. It is the third year the Nicos Ioannou company has participated at the JA, where they mostly promote an ancient jewelry collection line.
For M.C. Jewelry, this year was its fourth at the JA show. Mr. Agathagellou, the company’s manager, said that both old and new customers stopped by to see their contemporary collection of large pieces of gold, featuring diamonds and semi-precious stones.
Agathaggelou sees the American jewelry market as extremely profitable and the best for Cyprus, next to the Gulf countries.
Stelios A&E is a joint participation. “Stelios” is based in Connecticut and designs for many companies. The owner is Stelios Paraskevas, a “genius” (as his wife Carol describes him), from the village of Mosfiloti, near Larnaca. His company basically takes orders from larger companies based on idea that they have.
“We develop the product, we develop the design, we develop the promotion,” explains Carol Paraskevas.
“Ninety percent of our business is exclusives for people; we can’t even show what we’re doing for them,” she explains.
Well-known in the industry, Stelios participated in the exhibition along with the Cypriot company A&E of Mr. Evangelou.