Up Close And Personal With Jewelry Designer Kosta Konstantino
Jewelry designer Kosta Konstantino, has a flair for rock ‘n’ roll. A true craftsmen, he prides himself in meticulously handcrafting each piece at his studio in Athens, Greece, where he has been creating his signature line of fine jewelry pieces for men and women for over 33 years. We caught up with the outgoing designer (whose jewelry has been seen on huge stars from Brad Pitt to Keith Richards) while he was in St. Louis for an exclusive trunk show at Neiman Marcus on Thursday, and asked him a few hard-hitting questions.
ALIVE: What is your initial reaction to your brand’s rapid growth since being in the U.S.?
Konstantino: I wasn’t expecting it. When you become a designer, you want to see it develop and grow bigger, but you never know. My priority was always to make and evolve my jewelry, to keep it handcrafted, to enjoy the journey and at the same time bring new knowledge. Growth came after and that was a blessing. It has enabled me to develop into the designer that I am today and I am able to create whatever I want as a result. Recognition is a bonus. The true judge of my work is the customer.
ALIVE: One of the main selling points of your pieces is that they are still meticulously handcrafted. Can you tell us a bit about your design process?
Konstantino: It all starts with an idea. I sketch everything by hand, quick sketches, notes. We don’t use a computer program for any of this, everything is crafted one by one. It’s a long process. I have an etching guy—one guy does all of the etching which, as you can see, is on every piece. He uses a chisel and creates this effect by hand. We don’t use any mass machinery at all in the creations of the pieces. Even the stones are designed and cut ourselves.
ALIVE: Your pieces have a definite rock ‘n’ roll feel to them. Is that lifestyle an inspiration for you?
Konstantino: Absolutely, I was an old hippie. When you design, you express the truest part of yourself—who you really are. I always say that the pieces look classic but feel rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of rockers have worn my stuff. It’s fascinating to me because I don’t try to get celebrities to wear my jewelry. They go out and buy it on their own. It’s really great. Not too long ago, Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd) sent me a text with a photo of himself wearing one of my rings and he said, “You rock.” I said, “If I rock, what about you?”
ALIVE: What are two things people would be surprised to learn about you?
Konstantino: I act like an 18-year-old so I think people are surprised to find out that I am a family man with kids. I have two children (ages 18 and 20) and I am very serious about parenting. Another thing would be that I am never satisfied. I think that people think that because life has been so generous with me, that I have it all—but no. I am not satisfied. But I think that’s what keeps things so fun and exciting. Not being satisfied keeps me going.