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Show-Stoppers for Burning Man

Spirals, hearts, gold and turquoise, Maria-Tina's designs on paper, video and now in jewelry have always attracted the attention and adoration  of artists from across the world. For years she has been collaborating with fellow artists, creating unique, often outrageous and always beautiful custom pieces that blend their style with hers. Now Maria-Tina is working on a series of headpieces for festival goers (AKA Burners) at Burning Man! 

What is the Burning Man Festival? Watch the video and learn the history. 
Made of solid copper wire and encrusted with vintage faceted glass gems this head piece will be worn by a special friend at the 2015 Burning Man festival.
These crowns of creativity are meant to inspire and bring to light the fun, free spiritedness of Maria-Tina and her design aesthetic. She's like a Greek Betsy Johnson, and these crowns are here to prove it!  To order your own custom, show-stopping crown, call Maria-Tina directly at (415) 299-1442.
OPA!

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Ancient Bronze

 

Browsing the fashion jewelry section of Bloomingdale's or Nordstrom today you might find more pieces made of Ancient Bronze than you've ever seen before. Larger jewelers and retailers are starting to catch on to something Maria-Tina has known for years. Ancient Bronze is a great metal for that sparkly rose gold look for a lower price. 

So What is Ancient Bronze?

Ancient Bronze is a metal alloy first created in ancient times and composed of a combination of 10% tin and 90% copper. Bronze has been used since the 4th millennium B.C.E. by many different cultures and civilizations around the world. But it was commonly found in archaeological dig sites in Iran and Thailand where both tin and copper are found in the same location naturally. Ancient Bronze was such a strong and useful metal it was used for everything from tools and weapons to jewelry and headdresses.

Today Bronze is a beautiful alternative metal for fashion jewelry offering the look of rose gold without the hefty price tag. Like great art, each piece of Maria-Tina's bronze jewelry is unique because of her process and how special properties in the metal react under fire. The color/ finish of bronze can range from antiqued gold to rose gold with different patinas. 

Maria-Tina offers many of her best designs in Ancient Bronze at great prices. Shop her Ancient Bronze collection now!

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The Dirt on your Bohemian Baubles

The hottest trend in fashion and jewelry right now is the Bohemian Look, a mix of traditional Native American and East Asian designs. But before you buy those Bohemian baubles you should know a few things...

East Asian: These gorgeous pieces draw our eye with their tinny shine and bright colored stones but its important to keep in mind that currency exchange rates aren't the only reason prices are cheap. 

METALS: The tinny color of some east Asian silver jewelry comes from a slightly different metal content. In Asia a piece of jewelry considered sterling silver contains only 90% silver and 10% zinc compared to USA 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. By using tin instead of copper, East Asian jewelry is produced more cheaply, is less durable, and may tarnish quicker than American sterling silver. Maria-Tina's silver is always high quality sterling with no less than 92.5% silver. Check out Maria-Tina's Sterling Silver collection

 

Native American: High quality, authentic Native American jewelry can be hard to find, but if you know the signs of quality craftsmanship you're more likely to score some great deals. As always, get to know the logos of notable artists and look for the maker's mark on the back of the jewelry. 

TURQUOISE: Over the years Maria-Tina has taken apart old jewelry for makeovers and discovered the dirty secrets behind cheap Native American jewelry. Behind those gorgeous stones there is sometimes cardboard or sawdust used as a filler to make up for very thin pieces of stone. As a buyer, it is very difficult to detect if the piece you are buying has as much turquoise appears, but if you look for heftier pieces that have a substantial feeling in your hand you are more likely to get a good piece of jewelry. Using only thick, solid pieces of turquoise in her pieces, that hefty feel is always present in Maria-Tina's Minoan Jewelry. Check out her extensive collection of turquoise jewelry

Maria-Tina has a collection of her own bohemian baubles and loves them all. At greekislandhouse.com we want you to be educated and enjoy these bangles and baubles too but know when you want museum-quality pieces Maria-Tina is the one to go to!

Wishing you love, light and a little bit of Opa!

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3 Tips for Buying Gold Jewelry

1. JEWELER’S HALLMARK - Good jewelers leave their mark; they want people to know they created the jewelry you’re wearing. Look for a mark on the back or inside of your jewelry with the jeweler’s name or a branded symbol. This will tell you who made the piece and if it’s really worth the price.


2. METAL CONTENT - “Hallmark” or "Quality Mark" is the official term to describe the mark on the back or inside of your jewelry with numbers like: 16k, 18k, 22k, or 24k indicating the metal content of your jewelry. If you see 22k or a lower number followed by "k" on your jewelry, it has 92% or less gold and 8% or more other metal. Pure Gold is more durable when mixed with other metals. A 24k on the back of your jewelry indicates solid gold. This pure gold is more expensive but can be easier to scratch, so choose the metal that works better for you.
2. PLATING – Some gold jewelry isn’t solid. At department stores and big box retailers much of the gold colored jewelry is only plated with gold. These plated pieces are actually made of less expensive metals such as copper and silver, reducing the value of the piece and causing metal allergies in those with metal sensitivity. However, Vermeil, sterling silver jewelry that has been plated with gold can be a great, more price conscious alternative to solid gold jewelry. Maria-Tina make extremely high quality Vermeil jewelry with solid sterling silver, triple dipped in 24 karat gold. Shop Maria-Tina's vermeil jewelry here. 

BONUS BUYS

HAND HAMMERED – hammering makes the metal in your jewelry solid and more dense by actually condensing molecules, and getting rid of air pockets in the metal. Many of Maria-Tina’s pieces have been hand hammered, so you get more metal for your money.  All pieces are made in San Francisco and

Marin Co. USA - we love to support our Local Small Businesses.

CASTINGS – Cast pieces are used by jewelers to reduce costs and production times but they can mean a compromise on quality. Most jewelry is cast. During production, metal is poured into a mold which may form tiny pockets of air that makes the jewelry lighter. To detect if a piece was cast, look along the sides of the jewelry for ridges or seams. The better the jewelry, the less you can see. The majority of Maria-Tina’s jewelry is hand fabricated (sculpted by hand). Some pieces have been cast by hand using the lost wax method with the utmost attention to detail. Unlike commercial castings, Maria-Tina’s are made from originals maintaining the integrity of the design.

MIX & MATCH – Inspired by the art of Ancient Greece, Maria-Tina’s jewelry can be mixed and matched with other pieces to create a unique and inspiring look every time. No matter what metal or stone, all of Maria-Tina’s designs have a cohesive style that can stand alone or be combined for a statement look. There are unlimited options, pairing Maria-Tina’s ancient look with modern pieces gives your outfit an air of old world sophistication like the eclectic architecture of Athens, Paris and London!

Whatever jewelry you buy, we wish you radiance and happiness and a little bit of OPA from Maria-Tina and the Greek Island House Team!
Maria-Tina Minoan Jewelry Images from top:
• "Large Byzantine Cross" - Hand fabricated, hand hammered 22 karat gold tanzanite, sapphire, amethyst, diamonds, gold granulation and stamped with Minoan symbols of life and nature.
• "Circle of Life Wedding Ring" - Hand fabricated, hand alloyed and hand hammered 22 karat gold
•  "Four Corners Byzantine Cross" pendant hand cast using the ancient technique of lost wax method from original, hand fabricated, hand stamped piece, © 2015 Maria-Tina Karamanlakis
If you enjoyed hearing what we have to say about Gold check out our guide on How to Buy Silver Jewelry.

Whatever jewelry you buy we wish you radiance and happiness and a little bit of OPA from Maria-Tina and the Greek Island House Team!

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3 Tips for Buying Silver Jewelry

    1.  JEWELER’S HALLMARKS - Good jewelers leave their mark; they want people to know they created the jewelry you’re wearing. Look for a hallmark on the back or inside of your jewelry with the jeweler’s name or a branded symbol. This will tell you who made the piece and if it’s really worth the price. Watch this video for more information on Marks.                                                                                         
      2.  METAL CONTENT - Your fine jewelry should be stamped with numbers like .925 or .999 indicating its metal content. If you see .925 on your jewelry, it has 92.5% silver and 7.25% copper or other metal. Just like Gold, pure Silver is more durable when mixed with other metals. A .999 on the back of your jewelry indicates a higher grade of silver (fine silver) with 99% silver and the remaining 1% other metals. This higher grade silver is more malleable, tends to be more expensive but can be easier to scratch so choose the metal that works better for you.
      3.  PLATING – Some silver jewelry isn’t solid silver at all. At department stores and big box retailers much of the silver colored jewelry is only electroplated with silver. These plated pieces are actually made of less expensive metals such as brass, reducing the value of the piece.

       

      BONUS BUYS

      HAND HAMMERED – hammering makes the metal in your jewelry solid and more dense by actually condensing molecules, and getting rid of air pockets in the metal. Many of Maria-Tina’s pieces have been hand hammered, so you get more metal for your money.  All pieces are made in San Francisco and
      Marin Co. USA - we love to support our Local Small Businesses.
      CASTINGS – Cast pieces are used by jewelers to reduce costs and production times but they can mean a compromise on quality. Most jewelry is cast. During production, metal is poured into a mold which may form tiny pockets of air that makes the jewelry lighter. To detect if a piece was cast, look along the sides of the jewelry for ridges or seams. The better the jewelry, the less you can see. The majority of Maria-Tina’s jewelry is hand fabricated (sculpted by hand). Some pieces have been cast by hand using the lost wax method with the utmost attention to detail. Unlike commercial castings, Maria-Tina’s are made from originals maintaining the integrity of the design.
      MIX & MATCH – Inspired by the art of Ancient Greece, Maria-Tina’s jewelry can be mixed and matched with other pieces to create a unique and inspiring look every time. No matter what metal or stone, all of Maria-Tina’s designs have a cohesive style that can stand alone or be combined for a statement look. There are unlimited options, pairing Maria-Tina’s ancient look with modern pieces gives your outfit an air of old world sophistication like the eclectic architecture of Athens, Paris and London!
      Fabulous Gladys Lewis layers her MTMJ pieces - she is one of our Amazing Collectors & Proprietor of Gladiolis Collectables & Antiques at Fifteenth Street Books, Coral Gables, FL, USA
      Whatever jewelry you buy, we wish you radiance and happiness and a little bit of OPA from Maria-Tina and the Greek Island House Team!
      Maria-Tina Minoan Jewelry Images from top:
      • "Minoan Spring Flowers" - Hand fabricated, hand hammered sterling silver with blue topaz cabachons
      • "Minoan Man" collection - Hand fabricated, hand hammered sterling silver hand hammered cuff, pendant, and cufflinks 
      •  "Peace" pendant hand cast using the ancient technique of lost wax method from original, hand fabricated, hand stamped piece
           with Malachite cabachons, © 2015 Maria-Tina Karamanlakis

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      #Instalove this Amethyst!

      Greek Island House and Maria-Tina Karamanlakis are now on Instagram! To inaugurate our newest social media platform we thought it only fitting to showcase our newest piece too. So follow the link to our Instagram page, follow us and keep yourself updated with all of Maria-Tina's goodies. See below for details on our newest necklace. 

       

      Amethyst Eye Candy Necklace

      • One-of-a-kind Maria-Tina original
      • Polished 100% natural Amethyst beads
      • Solid sterling silver Maria-Tina signature clasp 
      • Approx. 16" long
      • Includes FREE GIFT: single stone matching earrings

      $585 contact Maria-Tina to order (415) 299- 1442

       

      OPA!

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      Viva la Dolce Vita!

      We had so much fun researching couture inspiration for you all last week that we couldn't help but share some more. This week our inspiration comes from the runway of Dolce and Gabbana's Fall 2013 collection inspired, much like Maria-Tina, by the mosaic icons, paintings, colors, stained glass windows, sacred golden objects, and priest's robes of Orthodox Religions....here they are with a twist!

       

      Maria-Tina's contribution to this look, a beautiful byzantine cross originally custom designed for a baptism.

      These lovelies are approx. 5/8" wide, 3/4" tall
       left:  18k solid gold, mini Open Floating Heart, lobster clasp and 16" 18k chain starting at $1650, add a ruby in the center and ruby accent bead on the chain $1750.
       
      center:  24k guilded ancient bronze (new code: 24kgbz) with ruby, 14k gold filled chain, mini Open Floating Heart with lobster clasp with ruby accent, 16" chain.....$245
       
      bottom:   Ancient Bronze with ruby, black chain with ruby accent, simple lobster clasp......$165 ............designer's special offering $145
                                           with 14k gold filled chain, Open floating heart clasp............$195. 

       

      Also available in solid sterling with a 16" chain, and rubies for $245.

      Applicable tax & shipping additional

      Please contact Maria-Tina to place orders and to request custom stone and chain lengths.

      Opa!

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      Autumn Is Upon Us

      The sounds of fall surround me as I write this blog today, the crisp wind whips around the chimney from Richardson's Bay, Canada Geese honk as they glide in formation just a foot above the water and the crunch of dried leaves rings through my mind as I forget for a moment that I am in California and not in a dense deciduous forest back east. Fall is upon us now and I can't help but let my mind wonder from these iconic autumnal sounds into the a world of tweed and velvet, mink and cashmere, into a world no farther away than the nearest Bloomingdales. Here are some couture inspirations drawn from Valentino's current collection that in my opinion are all missing something very important...... a piece of Maria-Tina Minoan Jewelry of course!
      by Carolyn Neer
      Valentino Couture Fall 2013 
      Valentino Couture Fall 2013
      Here are our suggestions to the design team at Valentino. 
      Petite Spiral Stackable Ring featured in 22 karat hand alloyed gold $795
      Also available in 18 karat gold starting at $595. Add something sparkly like a Diamond, Ruby, or Sapphire for an additional fee.
      Garnet Necklace
      Maria-Tina Signature clasp in 22 karat hand alloyed gold, faceted hand cut rhodalite garnets, approximately 20"      $1,585
       
      Call Maria-Tina now to schedule your own concierge jewelry experience this holiday season.   
      Thanks so much!  OPA!

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