Maria Kotsoni’s Artistic Evolution

Indian jewellery magazine

Interdisciplinary crossovers between different art forms are becoming the norm and bear testimony to the unfolding of limitless potential. More and more modern artists have been tapping into the intricate synergy that exists among different artistic disciplines to create one-off jewels by adding unusual elements to the oft-seen forms.  

The works of MARIA KOTSONI, a Cyprus-based micro-sculptor turned jewellery artist, exemplify this interdisciplinary approach beautifully. Her recent showing at COUTURE in Wynn, Las Vegas, displayed collections in warm tones of yellow gold that showcased a perfect equilibrium between historical depth and contemporary appeal. The deep reverence for nature, archaeology, diverse cultures, ancient artefacts come across vividly in her modern creations.

Maria’s passion for art and her craft is evident in this exclusive interview with Solitaire International. She shares insights into her creative process, her inspirations, and the journey that has led her to where she is today. Her pieces are more than just jewels; they are a celebration of the artistry that connects us all.

Tell us a bit about yourself … your early influences in life that sparked your passion for jewellery design and micro-sculpting?

I was born and raised by a musician mother and an academic artist father in a small yet culturally rich, seaside town in Cyprus, Paphos. I was lucky enough to enjoy a carefree childhood, and watching my parents engage in creative pursuits.

Growing up in this environment, spending long summers exploring open fields and often stumbling upon antiquities dating back to the prehistoric era.

During my daily endeavours as a child, I was mostly drawn to small things that I carefully observed and collected, such as shells, pebbles, insects, flowers, or fragments of ancient artefacts. Growing up, I developed a keen interest in archaeology, particularly in exploring my native town’s link with the great civilizations of the past. This led to my deeper desire to have my work to be influenced by my culture.

Maria Kotsoni

What prompted your decision to pursue further education at Central Saint Martins in London, and how did that experience shape your artistic journey?

After being awestruck by the Vergina treasures (associated with the royal burial sites of Macedonian kings) at the age of twelve, during a family visit to the Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki, Greece, I found my purpose in life! I made it my goal to learn how to make things as beautiful as those treasures!

Studying at Central Saint Martins was a blissful experience for me. That’s where I discovered my sculpting talent and mastered my own sculpting technique using a surgical scalpel. Everything was ideal, from the nature of the course, working exclusively with precious metals, to my tutors who were super supportive and patient. Having unlimited access to museums – especially the British Museum, which was within walking distance – was a luxury as I would often pop in for sketching during breaks.

(Left) The Eternal Flow 18-karat gold ring is set with VS diamonds. (Right) The sculptural 18-karat gold Echo ring with a highly polished finish features white VS diamonds. By Maria Kotsoni

Your work blends elements of antiquity with contemporary aesthetics. Could you elaborate on how you achieve this balance in your designs?

Being able to relate to the ancient visual language while living in our contemporary world is an ability that all humans possess, though perhaps some may be more or less aware of it.

Through my work and creative process, I aim to translate my perception of the elements from the past into something that will continue to make sense in our present world and hopefully carry the message into the future. They say history repeats itself, and I strongly believe that visual language does too, even though it may change shape, volume, or media through time.

The 18-karat yellow gold Spiked Heart ring is masterfully hand sculpted and features an 11-carat heart shaped, rose cut, wine red garnet. By Maria Kotsoni

What is your design philosophy? 

My design philosophy is strongly linked to what I felt during that museum visit in Thessaloniki: through my jewellery, I want to recreate that same feeling of awe in others that I felt as a twelve-year-old.

I believe that we all share the same origins and are therefore able to relate to the same visual language used by diverse cultures through time.

What defines an artist, and their work is the personal processing of an idea known to everyone but conveyed in a unique way. Jewellery to me is not a mere extension of the body, but of the spirit and soul as well. It is worn on the body and, for that reason, it is intimate physically to the wearer. But to me, it is also emotionally and spiritually intimate.

(Left) The hand sculpted Fluid Spike ring is crafted in 18-karat gold, and hallmarked in Cyprus. (Right) The highly polished Three-Pointed Star ring in 18-karat yellow gold is embellished with natural white diamonds. By Maria Kotsoni

Your journey has taken you to various places, including Athens and Nicosia. How have these different cultural environments influenced your creative process and the evolution of your brand?

My journey is still in progress. Athens is my second home, as I have lived and worked there for over a decade, and Nicosia is my current residence, as Cyprus is my native land.

I have always enjoyed travelling and continue to do so. London, Paris, and New York are also places I love and often like to visit. Wherever I am, I try to perceive the energy of the place and its people and relate to their ways and ideas. I see myself as a citizen of the world and I embrace diverse cultures and traditions because we all come from the same source and share a common course. Learning from one another can only help us become wiser and more fulfilled as humans.

Art is a powerful universal language of communication, and jewellery is my medium of art. Interaction with diverse cultures can benefit me as an artist, enabling me to communicate with a wider audience.

The Grain Array hoop earrings crafted in 18-karat gold with highly polished finish features clip fastenings to ensure a comfortable fit. By Maria Kotsoni

You mentioned your deep connection to nature and your island’s cultural heritage. What role do they play in shaping your artistic vision? 

What I am today was shaped in my childhood. I owe my mother for connecting me to nature … She was the one who triggered my observation skills for the wonders of nature and archaeology, which remain my endless source of inspiration.

I owe my artistic talent to my father … the dexterity of craftsmanship, curiosity to explore the world and seek inspiration from diverse cultures and civilizations.

The Three Pointed Star bracelet is embellished with fine diamonds weighing 1.66 carats. By Maria Kotsoni

Walk us through your creative process, from conceptualisation to the final creation of a piece.

I start by visualising the piece in three dimensions on the body. Through a series of sketches, I develop it until I am satisfied with the outcome. Depending on the type of piece, different techniques – traditional  or modern – may be involved: hand sculpting, 3D design and printing, casting, or soldering, to name a few. Different methods are tried until what I see matches my initial visualisation of the piece during the design process. It’s then polished and set with any necessary stones.

My preferred medium is 18-karat yellow gold because of its unique warm, positive, active, and life-giving energy. It’s no coincidence that all the great treasures from the past were crafted from yellow gold.

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