- Nov 2003
- Oct 2005
'Tip of the Iceberg' ring
- Oct 2008
The Art Gallery of Ontario
- Nov 2009
NKD in Bloor West Village
- Nov 2016
As seen in international museums and on television …
Jewellery-maker Niki Kavakonis’ original designs are now in Bloor West Village
(Toronto, Ontario – November 17, 2016) - Jewellery designer Niki Kavakonis has enjoyed an enviable number of highlights so far in her relatively short career. Peer and media recognition, inclusion in museum exhibitions, and her design making a cameo on a network television series all figure prominently. As exciting as these past experiences are, they may now be eclipsed by Niki’s latest achievement: her own recently-opened gallery/store where her award-winning, original creations are available for sale.
Niki Kavakonis Designs is an intimate shop located in charming Bloor West Village. Since its July 2016 opening, Niki has enjoyed meeting her neighbours, welcoming enquiries about the intricate methods behind her designs, and watching clients leave her store happy with their purchases of Niki Kavakonis designs.
Every piece in the shop is an original, meticulously researched, designed, and hallmarked with Niki’s stamp and the applicable mark for silver or gold. While all are on sale in the store at a wide array of price points, Niki also enjoys the challenge of commissioned, custom designs, working with her clients to create unique, singular pieces. A number of her ring designs are created to be worn by either men or women. She has and does ship far and wide. Happy clients include a man and his wife in Connecticut, for whom Niki was able to create an engagement ring – from Toronto – using her foolproof, ring-sizing technique.
Entering the shop feels akin to visiting an art or museum gallery. A double-sided screen, on view from the street as well as within the shop, rotates visuals of her stunning pieces as well as her wide-ranging media coverage. Display cases, glass on museum-like plinths, line the walls with a feature piece encased in a unit in the centre of the space. Niki appears to have taken notes from her extensive experience of having her jewellery included in prominent exhibitions in prestigious, international museums.
Her original design, a ring called Tip of the Iceberg, is likely Niki’s highest-profile piece. Inspired by the famed Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fallingwater house and showcasing the beauty of an uncut, natural, Canadian-mined octahedral diamond set in 18k white gold, the ring appeared in The Nature of Diamonds (2008-2010). The highly successful exhibition, organized by the American Museum of Natural History, travelled to museums including the Houston Museum of Natural History and Chicago’s Field Museum, as well as Toronto’s own Royal Ontario Museum. A clear visitor and media favourite, the ring graced the cover of ROM Magazine’s Winter 2012 issue. It has also appeared at Toronto’s Design Exchange and travelled to Finland.
Niki’s favourite theme is architecture with many different periods inspiring her. From ancient Greeks and Romans to the Italian Renaissance artisans (the Tempietto ring) to those creating today, including Toronto-born, internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry (her award-winning Ode to the Right Angle cuff bracelet), in Niki’s words, it’s all “wearable sculptured jewellery”. Her inspiration also comes from faraway lands: the elegant Sumi-e Koi necklace evokes Japan’s ancient calligraphic art. In hand-hammered silver, each brushstroke conveys balance, rhythm, and harmony.
The natural world also figures prominently in Niki’s creations. Her Ad Astra ring includes a fragment of meteorite sourced by Kennedy Space Center. Set in sterling silver, the ring recently appeared in the Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age exhibition at Forbes Museum in New York City and Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Niki’s White Cap ring, inspired in part by Hokusai's woodblock print The Great Wave off Kanagawa (c. 1830), persuasively conveys an expression of frozen liquid movement.
Perhaps the most whimsical piece in the entire store is the Good Fortune necklace. In the shape of a fortune cookie and created in sterling silver, it is a perfect gift for a graduation, bridesmaids’ appreciation gifts, or any milestone event, with an opportunity for the gift giver to include a personal message inside the cookie. Niki states her creations are “jewellery, with layers of meaning”. With this necklace, one is able to instil it with meaning of one’s own. Priceless!
The dazzling Sunrise Ruby earrings were also included in Out of this World! at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Their museum appearance came prior to their network television debut on the television series, Castle, where they adorned the earlobes of Susan Sullivan. Niki was gratified to receive a note of appreciation from the veteran actress. Based on a love poem by Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet and incorporating a rare star ruby (certified by the Gemmological Institute India), Niki created them using leading-edge 3D printing technology – that she taught herself! Crossing time and space, these earrings, perhaps more than anything in the store, symbolize the stunning, timeless nature of Niki Kavakonis Designs.
About Niki Kavakonis
Born in Toronto, to a Greek father and Finnish mother, Niki’s father’s architectural career took the family to Abu Dhabi for two years. Before she was 11 years old, Niki had visited 22 countries. At each destination, her parents ensured Niki experienced great museums and other cultural offerings; adventures strongly influencing her jewellery today. While she took some courses in jewellery-making at both George Brown and Ontario College of Art following undergraduate studies in Art, Art History, Anthropology, and Architectural History at the graduate level (including PhD studies) at the University of Toronto, Niki is largely self-taught. She made her first earrings – paint on leather - at age 17. She considers Finnish sculptor, jewellery designer, and artist Bjorn Weckstrom her jewellery idol, often emulating his methods.
About Niki Kavakonis Designs
Fully accessible, Niki Kavakonis Designs is located at 2465 Bloor Street West (at Jane) and across from the Jane TTC stop. Street and lot parking is available nearby. Shop hours: Monday, Tuesday: by appointment; Wednesday to Friday: 1:30 to 7:00 pm; Saturday: 1:00 to 6:00 pm. Closed Sunday. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook @NikiKavakonisDesigns and on Twitter @NikiKdesigns
For interviews with Niki or to request images, please contact Marilynne Friedman: email@example.com