Launching in 2013, independent and family-owned Austrian brand AENEA, are creating rare and innovative jewellery that pushes the traditional boundaries of design. We chat to the man at the heart of the brand, founder and Creative Director, Costan Eghiazarian.
In Costan’s eyes, jewellery design is so much more than just a career. “For me jewellery is not just work. It is lifestyle, passion, it is a tool of showing love and emotion. I see myself more as a person collecting ideas on my life’s journey.”
Growing up playing with jewellery in his father’s workshop and being surrounded by some of the most amazing self-made pieces and antiques from the likes of Fabergé, Cartier, Lalique, Boucheron and Van Cleef and Arpels, Costan was drawn into the jewellery industry like a moth to a flame. “You either hate that trade or cannot get it out of your head, like in my case. I never wanted to become a designer, it was more the urge of making and transforming jewellery that is wearable in the everyday world. I always just wanted to achieve something; to be a bit better than all the rest.”
After studying Business Administration and International Economic Science in Innsbruck and working as a marketing consultant, Costan felt there was something missing in his life. “What I was missing all this time, was the haptic sensation of a finished fine jewellery piece and the excitement of developing a jewellery product from scratch; the fantastic experience of being able to touch an idea for the first time.” And so in 2013 AENEA was born.
Creative Director and founder of AENEA, Costan Eghiazarian.
The family-owned brand isn’t run by Costan alone. In his own words, AENEA wouldn’t be the global jewellery brand it is today without the help of his close friend and business partner, Birgit.“At one point it was quite clear I would not want, nor be able, to make AENEA what it is today, without her help. She joined me in the company and is now partner. She is someone who I not only fully trust, but who is also the perfect counterpart: organised, very close to facts and figures, fearless in parts where I am not and timid in parts where I am reckless. She is an amazing marketer.”
With over 50 years of experience in the jewellery industry, consulting and producing sophisticated high end jewellery for big brands, Constan’s father is a constant support and source of expertise. “My father has been a goldsmith for 52 years. He began under the tutelage of an Austrian crown jeweller, from whom he learned a deep reverence for the highest standards and a practical understanding of how to attain them. He’s an overwhelming encyclopaedia of quality and technical advice”
After working on the first collections since the end of 2010, the brand was offically founded in September 2013.
“Every time somebody enjoys wearing a piece of AENEA jewellery and tells me so, it is the highest point I can achieve.
Balancing cutting edge techniques with fantastic master skills, every piece of AENEA jewellery is handcrafted to the highest standard. Whilst design is Costan’s forte, his father is in charge of production. “We use techniques like microscope setting, laser welding and CNC cutting. We also use 3D printing wherever it makes sense, but this is not to get rid of the handcrafting techniques; it is much more to enhance the quality and design of the products and have the utmost precision, whilst always having a human touch to it.”
Quality of materials is hugely important for Costan, with each gemstone being handpicked from sources the brand has had strong family ties with. “Sometimes I am working with the sons or even the grandsons of people my father has known for half a century.” When it comes to sourcing inspiration, Costan has completely varied approaches: becoming inspired either when he is totally upset that something is 'technically not possible' and wanting to crack the riddle, when a beautiful stone screams for a design or simply from his daily encounters. Every one of his designs is as meaningful and special as the last, and his dedication to creating high-quality boundary-pushing designs is admirable. His Sarpa Ring featuring 4 different precious metals and an array of different size stones took around 350 hours of work, which is over 2 weeks’ worth of solid work.
Costan wants people to feel joy when wearing one of his designs, and for him that is the highest reward. "I am very grateful that our clients enjoy the pieces we create as much as we do. I cannot wish for more.”
"All of the jewellery is a mixture between cutting edge techniques and fantastic master skills; it's handcrafted with the highest standards and a lot of very old Austrian goldsmith knowledge."
AENEA’s latest collection reinvents a material often deemed as old-fashioned and has given it a new lease of life. “Until lately, pearls were considered a bit old-fashioned, but they have always fascinated me. Now, suddenly, everyone else is in love with them too! Fortunately, I have been gathering very special pearls for several years, so that I could create something distinctive. The result is the Stella Collection.”
The unique collection is designed to be easy to wear; the pieces look just as striking with jeans and a t-shirt as they do paired with an elegant evening dress. “Pearls are a bit mysterious – gems that come from living things, with secret, iridescent hues. And they grow down under the water, where all life began. It’s natural that people are drawn to them. To enhance this allure, the Stella Collection plays with colours. The combinations are subtle in some pieces, quite lively in others. ”
So what does the future hold for AENEA? They are well on their way to making a name for themselves internationally. “Right now, we are going much more into e-commerce, working with companies like Jewelstreet, because we believe, that being able to compare as a consumer is key and transparency is more important than ever!” And as for new collections and projects, Costan always has something in the pipeline. “There is not one moment I am not working on something new. The question always is: will anybody ever see it or not? I am super tough with what we launch as a new collection and what waits in the drawer until I crack it.”
This article By Jewelstreet appeared on http://www.jewelstreet.com/gb/edit/introducing-aenea-jewellery/ September 2016