Kalopedis family
The Kalopedis Family are renowned jewelers from Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 who specialty is traditional Greek
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 style Icons and Ecclesiastic art, found in Orthodox Churches. Stylianos Kalopedis started the business in 1888 which has been passed down from father to son for five generations. Their style showcases the many cultural influences, both ancient and modern, traditions in the making of fine jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...


Kalopedis Dynasty

  • Stylianos Kalopedis - (b. 1868 - d. 1936)
  • Giorgos Kalopedis I - (b. 1911 - d. 1984)
  • Michalakis Kalopedis I - (b. 1935)
  • Giorgos Kalopedis II - (b. 1958)
  • Michalis Kalopedis II - (b. 1980)

The establishment

Stylianos Kalopedis was born in 1868 at Lefkara, a mountain village in the island of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. He was the first to begin the family’s jewellery tradition. As a child he was sent to the capital city
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 of Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

 in order to work at an atelier in the famous "street of the goldsmiths" and learn the art of Jewellery making. When he was 20 years old his mentor told him that he had achieved a skill level with which he could open his own workshop. His mentor then provided him with one workbench and the essential work tools. The year was 1888 and the family tradition had then begun.

Stylianos at first had moved to the village of Vasa where he had met his wife and remained there for 15 years. When his family started growing he decided to move back to Nicosia. But a historical event in Cyprus took place in October 1931. There was an uprising of the Cypriot people against the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 colonists. To protect his family Stylianos made the decision to move them back to his birthplace Lefkara. He wanted to ensure he could pass down his skills and knowledge of the art that he was practicing to his children so that they would continue the profession.

The workshop at Lefkara was established and the Kalopedis family began to work on two basic categories of Jewellery for which they are now famous for in Cyprus. The first category refers to the ecclesiastic art, such as icons, and other ecclesiastical instruments that are used in the Greek Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

. The family also was the first to introduce the two traditional Greek instruments "Kapnistiri" and "Mereha" to Cyprus, items which are used as sencers in traditional weddings and other ceremonies. These two are what the parents and the priests use to bless their children on their wedding day. These are decorated in the forms of fruits such as apples, peaches etc. The "Kapnistiri" has two parts, one to store olive leaves and small charcoals and the other is for the burning of charcoals and olive leaves, to produce the smoke for the blessing. The "Mereha' is what is used to hold perfume. The second category in which the family became specialized in was personal jewellery.

All the items at the beginning were made with silver. There was only one exception in the timeline of this tradition when for a small period of time due to the bad economic situations in Cyprus; copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 was used in the place of silver. After the crisis passed the family returned to the use of silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 for all ecclesiastic and other decorative items and gold was then also introduced for personal jewellery.

Giorgos Kalopedis I, the most profound of Stylianos’ sons in 1943 envisioned a more promising future in the town of Larnaca
Larnaca, is the third largest city on the southern coast of Cyprus after Nicosia and Limassol. It has a population of 72,000 and is the island's second largest commercial port and an important tourist resort...

. In 1944 he left the village of Lefkara and moved to Larnaca, taking with him his family and his skills in order to continue the tradition of the family. Giorgos Kalopedis I, was a person who was distinct because of his personality. A smart business man, who was extremely hard working; Giorgos had dreams for the future and took the first steps in taking the business of the family outside the borders of Cyprus. In Larnaca
Larnaca, is the third largest city on the southern coast of Cyprus after Nicosia and Limassol. It has a population of 72,000 and is the island's second largest commercial port and an important tourist resort...

 Giorgos Kalopedis I, became an attraction for all the locals, visitors and tourists. He was known because he brought his art to the street. He loved working on a table that was placed on the pavement outside his store. People used to pass by and stand to watch his art in the making. The interest even attracted journalists from all over the world who saw the work of Giorgos Kalopedis I, as a true representation of the Cyprus culture.

Andreas kalopedis the brother of Michalakis Kalopedis I, was also one of the great artists in the family and has worked on icons such as the one of Mary in the church located in the village of Kiti, outside the town of Larnaca. Today Michalakis Kalopedis I, George Kalopedis II and Michael Kalopedis II represent the three generations that continue the tradition of the family.

Important Works

After moving to Larnaca the fame of the family began to grow further and people from all over Cyprus and from overseas were asking to have icons and other ecclesiastical instruments made for them. These were primarily intended as donations to churches. Some of the most important religious places for which the family has created pieces for are the monasteries of Athos Mountain
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

 in Greece, the monastery of Stavrovouni
Stavrovouni Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery which stands on the top of a hill called Stavrovouni in Cyprus...

 and the three Churches of Holy Mary at the village of Kivisili.

The silver cross that was made for the monastery of Staurovouni is one of the significant pieces ever made by the family since the monastery is one of the most hallowed places in the Christian faith. It is the monastery which according to a religious transition was founded by St. Helena, the mother of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine I, the Great. She had discovered the three crosses on which Jesus and the two thieves had been crucified on her visit to the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

. On her way back to Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, she left a piece of the Holy Cross
Christian cross
The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity...

 of Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 at this monastery. The jewellers of the family were asked to create a silver cross where in its center; the piece of the holy cross of Jesus was placed. The silver cross is decorated with hammering with an image representing the moment of the resurrection and other images and representations of saints and apostles.

In 1981 a silver icon for the church of Holy Mary at the village of Kivissili was made. The icon is one of the most elaborately decorated icons made by the Kalopedis family. There is also an interesting true story behind this icon. The icon was made to cover an already existing painting. The silver icon however does not cover the face of Mary and Jesus. These are left uncovered so that their iconographical image can be displayed. One day a Turkish man, one of the many that used to live in the village, had walked into this Greek Orthodox Church and stubbed the icon of Mary in the left eye. As a result the man permanently lost his vision. The mark is still visible today.

The most outstanding icons however made by the family, are the resent works for the church of St. Savvas at the village of Leivadia, outside the town of Larnaca.

External links

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