The Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (ILJM) is the first museum devoted to the art of jewelry in Greece and one of the very few of its kind in the world. The ILJM is a non-profit cultural organization certified by the Greek Ministries of Finance and Culture in 1993 and opened to the public in December of 1994. The Museum acts as an international center for jewelry and decorative crafts, with an emphasis on silver and goldsmithing as well as contemporary studio jewelry.
The Museum is located under the sacred hill of the Acropolis at the footsteps of the Parthenon in two buildings: the Lalaounis’ family home which was constructed in 1927 and the jewelry workshop of its founder Ilias Lalaounis which is a 1925 apartment building totally renovated in 1992 for the Museum spaces. The family home has been kept intact and is accessible to visitors since it houses the library and the administration. The alterations of the main museum space were designed by Bernard Zehrfuss (1908-1996), the architectural plan was refined and carried out by the Architect, Vassilis Gregoriadis and the museological studies were compiled by Ioanna Lalaouni.
Today the ILJM permanent collection includes historic and contemporary jewelry and decorative arts. The major emphasis of the displays is given to the 50 collections designed and supervised by Ilias Lalaounis between 1957 and 2002. The displays are selected to give an overview of 4.500 jewelry and microsculptures that Lalaounis presented in exhibitions worldwide to promote his work. Inspired by the history of world art, the history of ancient Greek art and social aspects that complement the second half of the 20th century, contemporary technology, nature, and children’s designs, the artist left a substantial archive of designs, jewelry tools and macquettes of special commissions.
Since 2001 the Museum collects historic decorative arts and jewelry as well as enriches its collection with contemporary artistic jewelry from Greek and International artists.
Two Temporary exhibitions per year display historic and contemporary jewelry and decorative arts from other Museums and private collections. From School groups to catered visitors tours the Museum offers in its renovated spaces the best of jewelry tours in the world. Educative school and cultural programs are renewed yearly with new insights on cultural education and contemporary jewelry techniques. The research library, the video rooms, the museum shop, and the coffee shop are accessible daily to offer both children and adults a variety of facilities with Tours, Lectures, and Workshops on related themes.
The ILJM constantly develops its activities under the sacred rock where Hephaistos’ temple was erected to honor him. For this we named our new History of Jewelry program, Hephaistos Summer School. Look it up on www.jss.gr and don’t miss the newly inaugurated Live Jewelry Artist in Residence Studios offering a new perspective in your museum visit!