CYPRUS WEEKLY – Golden Byzantine Era – 16 Years in the making by Athena Karsera

CYPRUS WEEKLY – Golden Byzantine Era – 16 Years in the making by Athena Karsera

By on September 10th, 2012

A fascinating exhibition of jewellery inspired by the Byzantine age is the latest offering by one of Cyprus’ top designer, Katia K. of Katia’s Treasures. Entitled ‘Golden Byzantine Era’, the show opens at K’s Nicosia store tomorrow, Saturday and will be on until December 6.

Speaking to The Cyprus Weekly, Ka­tia said that inspiration for the exhibi­tion began to spring 16 years ago, when she was exhibiting at the Levention Mu­seum and was influenced by peri­od jewellery on show there. ”A good customer told me how much my work then re­minded him of Byzantine pieces but I did not think about it too much because they were modelled on the museum pieces”, she said. As the years went by, Katia began to familiarise herself more with jewellery from the Byzantine era, mostly by read­ing books on the subject and began to re­alise how comfortable she was with the style.

“I believe that people in this region, in Greece and even parts of Turkey feel a connection to Byzantine times”, she said K. also tried to find what she describes as “the common denominator” of styles from various regions during Byzantine times.

This genre has been recreated many times”, she said, “but I have tried to cre­ate something fresh and I think I have succeeded”. Most of the collection is made up of yellow gold although some pieces are of white gold. The two types of gold are unified by vibrantly coloured precious stones including diamonds and amethysts amongst many others. ”They are rich pieces but also very intricate”, she said. Fittingly for someone who has been long established as one of Cyprus’ most acclaimed jewellery designers, Katia’s fascination with the art began early.

“I spent part of my childhood in Africa and I remember visiting the markets and seeing the beautiful jewellery cre­ated by the local people”, she said. Later returning to Cyprus while her parents remained in Africa, she began to perceive their gifts of jewellery as bridges of communication with her fam­ily. Continuing visits to her parents in Nigeria and later Zambia in particular proved very influential in her choice of career. ”My father was very supportive but said that I should get some kind of degree in jewellery design and work expe­rience too, to be sure that it was what I wanted to do”, she said. This summer she honored her fa­ther with a collection entitled ‘Out of Africa’, reflecting the continent’s vibrancy.

First taking a foundation course to be sure her path was the right one, Katia went to get a BA Honours in 3D Design ih Silversmithing and Jewellery from De Montfort University of Leicester. She also attended classes in gem setting and mounting at the Birmingham Poly­technic. On her return to Cyprus, she represented the country at the 1988 Bi-ennale for New Artists in Italy and her career has gone from strength to strength.

by Athena Karsera