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Designing jewelry may be standard practice for a girl-about-town today, and Eugenie Niarchos certainly is one of them. A regular of the international crowd that also includes friends like Princess Beatrice, Charlotte Casiraghi and Margherita Missoni and older brother Stavros, Niarchos has a two-year-old line called Venyx. With a second collection debuting earlier this year in Paris, and retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Dover Street Market lining up to buy, the future looks as bright for her as the sharp, modern pieces she designs.
Niarchos is no newcomer to the jewelry business, either. The eldest daughter of Philip and Victoria Niarchos (the former a son of Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, the latter a Guinness by birth), the 28-year-old, New York–born, Paris-bred socialite’s first foray into design began in 2007 at Repossi, the Turin, Italy-based jeweler (and official supplier to Monaco’s royal family), where friend and former classmate Gaia Repossi had recently taken over as creative director.
“It was really exciting. We were designing pieces that were handcrafted and very beautifully made but at the same time very fashion-forward. It was really the beginning of this jewelry trend toward edgier designs and younger designers,” says Niarchos, referring to peers like Delfina Delettrez and Noor Fares.
After two collections at Repossi, Niarchos moved to London to study jewelry design at the Gemological Institute of America and continued on to New York to intern at the jewelry department of Christie’s, where she learned everything from cataloguing to market prices for stones and also picked up an appreciation for Art Nouveau period pieces.
“She had a great eye and spent a lot of time with antique jewels,” says Christie’s International head of jewelry Rahul Kadakia, who worked with her there daily. “At the same time, she was also enamored of contemporary creations, especially jewels by JAR.”
Niarchos’s own designs seem to follow suit: There are subtle references to Art Nouveau’s flora and fauna in her first collection, Reptilia, and her latest, Theiya, is inspired by natural phenomena like eclipses, shooting stars and the aurora borea-lis (northern lights), but the pieces read as thoroughly modern. And though there are references to astrology and Greek mythology through-out the collection, which is available now, Niarchos insists each item is up for the wearer’s own interpretation. “That’s what I love about jewelry,” she says. “It’s not necessarily that it’s just a beautiful thing, but it has a meaning.”