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Featured Shop: Break A Stone

Mar 25, 2016

by Aleksa Brown

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Before she started designing bold, boho jewelry for her brand, Break A Stone, Aggelika Karali spent seven years working as a tax consultant. “I was never into tax – who is, really? But during that time, I learned a great deal about myself as a professional and as a person,” Aggelika says. “I was brought up in a society that considers working full time at some kind of firm as the main way to be successful. I always wondered if I could just quit my job, ‘break this stone,’ and start working on something based on creativity and hand work.”

Then, about four years ago, Aggelika decided to put this question to the test. “I rented a small space at the center of the city and had a friend who studied metalsmithing come over for a few hours to show me basic stuff, like metal soldering and tools,” she says. “I took it from there, practicing and experimenting on the bench for hours and hours at a time. Those were my first steps in making and designing jewelry; since taking that chance, I don’t think I have ever been happier.”

Today Aggelika, who is based in Athens, Greece, splits her time between working on her business and raising her eight-year-old daughter, Irene. “There’s not a lot of time to do much else, but that’s okay, because I’m pretty satisfied with both,” she says.

Take a peek inside Aggelika’s studio – and hear more about her passion for crystals, her process for designing, and her goals for the future, below.

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What made you want to start making jewelry?
I’ve been a huge fan of jewelry for as long as I can remember: It reflects the style and personality of its owner, it can be worn for so many various occasions, and it can be passed down from generation to generation. For that reason, I set out to start making my own.

How long have you been practicing your craft?
I created my first piece about four years ago, and I opened my Etsy shop a few months after that. About a month after I opened my shop, my first order came in. Traffic grew gradually, which was convenient for me, given that I was still pretty new to all this. As time passed, I started growing both professionally and technically, and my business began to flourish. My work gained acceptance much faster than I ever could have hoped.

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Where do you create, and what is your creative process like?
I make jewelry in my studio, which is near the historical center of Athens. My pieces are made using basic metalsmithing techniques, like soldering, casting, wax carving and stone setting. I design some of my pieces on paper first, but usually I have a general picture of what I want to make in my mind as I start producing. From there, I make any necessary alterations or adjustments to my first idea until it’s just right.

How long does it take you to make a single piece?
One piece can take anywhere from one to five hours to create, depending on its complexity and uniqueness. I personally love really unique pieces; I use natural raw crystals in many of my designs, which means that they are made from scratch and created around a single, individual stone. I also devote a lot of time to communicating with my customers, as I have a lot of custom orders coming in. Other than that, I also make prototype pieces which I then reproduce in collaboration with a small casting business here in Athens. Still, most pieces need to be worked on more — setting the stones, for example — after being cast.

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What are some of your favorite materials to work with?
I love working with natural crystals – I find them truly magical, and I believe in the properties that each one holds. I most often use sparkly Herkimer diamonds, white quartz, amethyst, onyx, and fluorite. My other favorite material is metal. Even though it’s the most basic material I work with, it gives me certainty that a piece is going to last forever and accompany its owner everyday, everywhere.

Do you have a favorite piece in your shop? Or a best-selling piece?
My minimalist joint ring in silver has sold pretty well considering it came out recently. As for my personal favorite, that’s something that’s always changing! I’m really enthusiastic with my new designs when they first come out, and then after a while, I’m in love with a new idea. Some of my all-time favorites are my Moroccan-style statement earrings, though.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, fairy tales, art nouveau and anything medieval – from small objects to buildings. Metalsmiths did quite amazing work back then!

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Will you tell us about some of the other artists, designers, or Etsy sellers whose work you admire?
I am a huge admirer of Kevin Coates, the goldsmith and musician. His work is neither modern nor totally traditional; it consists of brilliant jewels, medals and small sculptures. He literally creates visual poetry — it’s really difficult to say anything about the artistic value of his work without falling into the banal. Every inch of his pieces is perfectly executed.

What is your favorite part of your job?
If I had to choose, I would say my favorite part is when I set out to make something new. I’m always impatient until I see what the final piece looks like, and how close to my expectations it will be! I shouldn’t leave out the part when I receive happy customers’ messages and feedback – that also gives me huge motivation. Selling online can be tricky; even though I take extra care in my product photos, pictures can’t always tell the story of an object’s features, like its weight, texture or the way it feels in your hands. The good news is that most people think my pieces look even better in real life, so I’m much more confident now than when I first opened my shop.

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What does Etsy mean to you?
Etsy has been my work’s window display to the world! It gave me the opportunity to communicate with people in different parts of the globe, grow some strong business relationships, and collaborate with brands I never would have dreamed of collaborating with. I don’t want to fall into cliché here, but I don’t think I would have made this huge turn in my life without Etsy. Both budget-wise and business-wise, I’ve always felt secure and certain that things are being taken care of, and that I am part of a big community that will never fail me. For that, I am grateful.

What are your goals for the future?
I definitely want to keep working on my technical skills; that’s a never-ending process, so it’s always going to be a goal and a motivation for me. Other than that, I would love to be able to better balance my personal life with work. My Etsy shop keeps me busy most hours of the day, due to the fact that my one-off pieces take hours to make and I’m still a small business without much help. A bigger working space is also one of my next steps. Stay tuned!

Keep up with Break a Stone on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

All photos by Danai Issaris.

Shop Break A Stone

 

Articulated Minimalist geometric Jointed armor ring in sterling silver- adjustable
Articulated Minimalist geometric Jointed armor ring in sterling silver- adjustable
BreakAstone
$85.00 USD
Silver Emma Articulated Earrings made in solid sterling silver
Silver Emma Articulated Earrings made in solid sterling silver
BreakAstone
$120.00 USD
The Arctic Silver Cuff - made in solid sterling silver
The Arctic Silver Cuff - made in solid sterling silver
BreakAstone
$85.00 USD
Articulated gold or Silver armor rocker hipster high fashion style ring adjustable - white or yellow bronze
Articulated gold or Silver armor rocker hipster high fashion style ring adjustable - white or yellow bronze
BreakAstone
$63.00 USD
The Arrow cuff - faceted Chrysocolla stone cuff in bronze
The Arrow cuff - faceted Chrysocolla stone cuff in bronze
BreakAstone
$90.00 USD
Flow ear cuff in solid sterling silver for pierced ears minimal geometric jewelry
Flow ear cuff in solid sterling silver for pierced ears minimal geometric jewelry
BreakAstone
$95.00 USD
Gold Emma Articulated Earrings made in bronze feat. sterling silver ear posts
Gold Emma Articulated Earrings made in bronze feat. sterling silver ear posts
BreakAstone
$67.00 USD
Raw white quartz crystal statement antique gold witch ring - bronze
Raw white quartz crystal statement antique gold witch ring - bronze
BreakAstone
$65.00 USD
The Journey Earrings-Retro vintage style  gold earrings - made to order
The Journey Earrings-Retro vintage style gold earrings - made to order
BreakAstone
$63.00 USD
Turquoise and Emerald cut Clear Quartz  in sterling silver and gold vintage style  ring-made to order
Turquoise and Emerald cut Clear Quartz in sterling silver and gold vintage style ring-made to order
BreakAstone
$115.00 USD
Raw fluorite and herkimer diamond crystals statement gold cuff retro antique boho Vintage style adjustable -made to order
Raw fluorite and herkimer diamond crystals statement gold cuff retro antique boho Vintage style adjustable -made to order
BreakAstone
$140.00 USD
The Frida ring Limited edition - Sparkling apatite and coral multistone sterling silver ring
The Frida ring Limited edition - Sparkling apatite and coral multistone sterling silver ring
BreakAstone
$120.00 USD
The Arctic Gold Cuff - made in solid bronze
The Arctic Gold Cuff - made in solid bronze
BreakAstone
$55.00 USD
Raw Herkimer diamond  antique silver witch ring - solid sterling silver
Raw Herkimer diamond antique silver witch ring - solid sterling silver
BreakAstone
$120.00 USD
Sterling silver Amazon cuff
Sterling silver Amazon cuff
BreakAstone
$110.00 USD
Amethyst cabochon crystal handcarved statement sterling silver ring- Men and Women
Amethyst cabochon crystal handcarved statement sterling silver ring- Men and Women
BreakAstone
$115.00 USD
Green Agate Stone Crystal Crescent Moon Necklace - Witch Boho Gold Necklace In Bronze - Made To Order
Green Agate Stone Crystal Crescent Moon Necklace - Witch Boho Gold Necklace In Bronze - Made To Order
BreakAstone
$64.00 USD
Spear pink Tourmaline Ring - Faceted Pink Tourmaline set on solid yellow bronze or sterling silver
Spear pink Tourmaline Ring - Faceted Pink Tourmaline set on solid yellow bronze or sterling silver
BreakAstone
$90.00 USD
Arrow Ring - Faceted Blue Apatite Ring set on solid yellow bronze
Arrow Ring - Faceted Blue Apatite Ring set on solid yellow bronze
BreakAstone
$75.00 USD
Eternal Flat thick snake chain in solid bronze
Eternal Flat thick snake chain in solid bronze
BreakAstone
$40.00 USD
Tamara Gold or silver hoop tribal earrings-sterling silver ear post
Tamara Gold or silver hoop tribal earrings-sterling silver ear post
BreakAstone
$58.00 USD
Articulated sterling Silver armor jointed high fashion style ring adjustable - women
Articulated sterling Silver armor jointed high fashion style ring adjustable - women
BreakAstone
$92.00 USD
Red garnet crystal cabochon stone gold vintage retro style solid bronze cuff - made to order
Red garnet crystal cabochon stone gold vintage retro style solid bronze cuff - made to order
BreakAstone
$58.00 USD
Drop ear jackets in bronze and silver for pierced ears - silver ear post minimal geometric jewelry
Drop ear jackets in bronze and silver for pierced ears - silver ear post minimal geometric jewelry
BreakAstone
$85.00 USD
Unisex Gold or silver engraved acorn  necklace in solid yellow bronze
Unisex Gold or silver engraved acorn necklace in solid yellow bronze
BreakAstone
$45.00 USD
white quartz crystal gold necklace boho antique style in solid bronze -made to order
white quartz crystal gold necklace boho antique style in solid bronze -made to order
BreakAstone
$55.00 USD
The Acorn Garnet Cuff - made in solid bronze or solid sterling silver
The Acorn Garnet Cuff - made in solid bronze or solid sterling silver
BreakAstone
$67.00 USD
Tribal Gold Bracelet Ethnic Engraved Cuff Boho High Fashion Bracelet- Made In Solid bronze
Tribal Gold Bracelet Ethnic Engraved Cuff Boho High Fashion Bracelet- Made In Solid bronze
BreakAstone
$63.00 USD
Amazon Apatite Crystal gold cuff
Amazon Apatite Crystal gold cuff
BreakAstone
$90.00 USD
Gold Flow ear cuff in bronze for pierced ears silver ear post minimal geometric jewelry
Gold Flow ear cuff in bronze for pierced ears silver ear post minimal geometric jewelry
BreakAstone
$65.00 USD
White Quartz Crystal point gold Or Silver Engraved Stars retro style Ring - made to order
White Quartz Crystal point gold Or Silver Engraved Stars retro style Ring - made to order
BreakAstone
$65.00 USD
The triple warrior Armor gold ring engraved goth style women made in solid yellow bronze
The triple warrior Armor gold ring engraved goth style women made in solid yellow bronze
BreakAstone
$65.00 USD
Andromeda Dioptase Crystal Gold Cuff - made in solid bronze or sterling silver
Andromeda Dioptase Crystal Gold Cuff - made in solid bronze or sterling silver
BreakAstone
$95.00 USD
The Arrow cuff - faceted Spectrolite stone cuff in sterling silver
The Arrow cuff - faceted Spectrolite stone cuff in sterling silver
BreakAstone
$130.00 USD
Moroccan Ethnic Coin Gold or silver Pendant men and women Layering Statement Necklace
Moroccan Ethnic Coin Gold or silver Pendant men and women Layering Statement Necklace
BreakAstone
$40.00 USD
Tribal Solid Silver Bracelet Ethnic Engraved Cuff Boho African style Bracelet- Made In Sterling Silver or White Bronze
Tribal Solid Silver Bracelet Ethnic Engraved Cuff Boho African style Bracelet- Made In Sterling Silver or White Bronze
BreakAstone
$69.00 USD
Minimalist geometric hinged ring  in Silver and gold- adjustable - sterling silver or yellow bronze
Minimalist geometric hinged ring in Silver and gold- adjustable - sterling silver or yellow bronze
BreakAstone
$55.00 USD
Aztec turquoise stones gold ring boho style made in solid bronze
Aztec turquoise stones gold ring boho style made in solid bronze
BreakAstone
$65.00 USD
Gold lace engraved boho antique style cuff open back bracelet made in solid yellow bronze
Gold lace engraved boho antique style cuff open back bracelet made in solid yellow bronze
BreakAstone
$40.00 USD
Green Agate stone  gold stars cuff retro antique boho Vintage style adjustable in solid bronze-made to order
Green Agate stone gold stars cuff retro antique boho Vintage style adjustable in solid bronze-made to order
BreakAstone
$60.00 USD
Geometric Dainty Gold Hamsa Hand Ring - Delicate Adjustable Bronze
Geometric Dainty Gold Hamsa Hand Ring - Delicate Adjustable Bronze
BreakAstone
$25.00 USD
Juno Mother of Pearls Ring made in solid bronze or sterling silver - Made To Order
Juno Mother of Pearls Ring made in solid bronze or sterling silver - Made To Order
BreakAstone
$80.00 USD
Flat Herringbone chain in sterling silver
Flat Herringbone chain in sterling silver
BreakAstone
$95.00 USD
Raw crystal stones cuff boho style in solid bronze -made to order
Raw crystal stones cuff boho style in solid bronze -made to order
BreakAstone
$180.00 USD
Arctic Hoop Articulated Earrings made in solid sterling silver
Arctic Hoop Articulated Earrings made in solid sterling silver
BreakAstone
$85.00 USD
Gold engraved antique moroccan Coin earrings boho antique style- sterling silver ear post
Gold engraved antique moroccan Coin earrings boho antique style- sterling silver ear post
BreakAstone
$58.00 USD
Custom listing for Ildikó
Custom listing for Ildikó
BreakAstone
$1.00 USD
Forbidden Blossom - Handcarved sterling silver Snake Art Nouveau Medieval Cuff- Made In Solid Sterling Silver
Forbidden Blossom - Handcarved sterling silver Snake Art Nouveau Medieval Cuff- Made In Solid Sterling Silver
BreakAstone
$110.00 USD
Three Stone Blue And Green Agate Gold Cuff - Retro Antique Boho Vintage Style - Adjustable In Solid bronze - Made To Order
Three Stone Blue And Green Agate Gold Cuff - Retro Antique Boho Vintage Style - Adjustable In Solid bronze - Made To Order
BreakAstone
$73.00 USD
Gold engraved stacking hoop earrings with a sterling silver ear post
Gold engraved stacking hoop earrings with a sterling silver ear post
BreakAstone
$58.00 USD
Limited edition- Raw Black Phantom herkimer diamond crystal antique silver witch ring set in sterling silver
Limited edition- Raw Black Phantom herkimer diamond crystal antique silver witch ring set in sterling silver
BreakAstone
$120.00 USD
Blossom Black Onyx Stone Ring - Solid bronze ring-unisex- Made To Order
Blossom Black Onyx Stone Ring - Solid bronze ring-unisex- Made To Order
BreakAstone
$65.00 USD
Vintage style triple white quartz gold cuff retro antique boho style adjustable in solid bronze -made to order
Vintage style triple white quartz gold cuff retro antique boho style adjustable in solid bronze -made to order
BreakAstone
$73.00 USD
Daisy  Articulated Turquoise Earrings
Daisy Articulated Turquoise Earrings
BreakAstone
$75.00 USD
Turquoise Silver retro vintage style cuff adjustable - made to order
Turquoise Silver retro vintage style cuff adjustable - made to order
BreakAstone
$69.00 USD
Emerald cut Clear Quartz handcarved statement ring-made to order
Emerald cut Clear Quartz handcarved statement ring-made to order
BreakAstone
$90.00 USD
Vintage style Gold coin ring engraved boho antique style
Vintage style Gold coin ring engraved boho antique style
BreakAstone
$30.00 USD
Tuareg Gold or silver engraved boho antique style Morocco inspired Ring Necklace in solid yellow bronze
Tuareg Gold or silver engraved boho antique style Morocco inspired Ring Necklace in solid yellow bronze
BreakAstone
$44.00 USD
Twist Gold Or Silver Engraved Bracelet - African jewelry - Open Back Cuff
Twist Gold Or Silver Engraved Bracelet - African jewelry - Open Back Cuff
BreakAstone
$45.00 USD
One of a Kind Crystal Rings - Ready to ship
One of a Kind Crystal Rings - Ready to ship
BreakAstone
$99.00 USD

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