AENEA – jewellery from happy people of noble blood
The knowledge of AENEA, meaning in Greek “to praise” relationships between people and their feelings, as well as the brand idea that lies in celebrating life and love, was revealed to me only five minutes ago when I went to their website and read “About us” tab. I found out that Costan Eghiazarian is a prince only at the end of my two-day August trip to Salzburg – the homeland of AENEA. But since my first day and for the next three months I’ve had a feeling of meeting “happy people of noble blood”.
I am mature enough to understand that happiness is a temporary state. However, you should admit that it is so delightful to meet people, experiencing their happy moment of life. Ultimately, you get jewellery that bears lively, radiant energy and unique design and as Costan, a founder and a creative director of the company, pointed out, “ability to wear even with a T-shirt and jeans, which is so important especially nowadays.” Being a lover of rings with big stones, I agree with him.
I realize that the article should reveal craftsmanship, quality of jewellery creation and uniqueness of design, but...it is so mundane! After all, every jeweler I am writing about, creates such jewellery, but people are truly unique.
AENEA is a brand of creative, beautiful and smart young people. By the way, intelligence and education is a distinctive trait of this company.
Consider by yourself: Costan, the founder and the creative director of the company, possesses a title of prince, has been surrounded not only by antique pieces, but people who create art by themselves. His father is a jeweler. Great J.A.R. is his mother’s friend. Oskar Kokoschka, a painter and a writer, a prominent figure in Austrian Impressionism, has taught his mother to draw. Costan’s great grandfather was a writer. When I asked him what he would change if he had only one year to live, he answered, “Nothing.”
Lidwine, or Winzi, as everyone calls her, just got married, and was glowing with happiness when I met her. For many years she has worked for such important newspapers as The Washington Post and The Economist, travelled halfway round the world and got to know different cultures.
Birgit, the partner and the marketing director of the company, is the most serious member of the unit: she is smart, talented, and worked in the marketing department at a leading international company for 12 years. She ensures that Costan’s creativity stays within the frame of the marketing strategy. On the whole, they are a team in the best sense of this word!
The history of AENEA began in 2013, when Costan called his father and said, “You know, I think I’m ready.”
– I worked as a consultant in a marketing company. Then I got totally bored. Those days I had two possibilities of my future life: either to go into jewellery, likewise my father, or practice life coaching, as I was invited to one of the biggest psychological centers in Vienna to work there as a coach. So, one day I called my father and said, “You know, I think I’m ready.” And he replied, “That’s wonderful!” To give it a great deal of thought, I went to Burma to a Buddhist monastery for ten days, where we were prohibited to speak or to write… It was quite intense, but when I came back home, I established my own company.
– What has influenced your final decision?
– When you see how an idea transforms into a finished product, and you create the most amazing piece – that is total sensation for me. You can see it, feel it, touch it, and hold the subject of imagination in your hands. And then you have plenty of ideas in business, but you would never touch them. Not having the experience of a finished product was the biggest problem for me. I think that was the moment when I was finally ready to immerse into the jewellery world.
– I noticed that there aren’t really any red lines throughout your collections.
– I grew up with so many pieces of unique jewellery… In the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, my father dealt with the most important works of Faberge, Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, and other renowned brands. On one hand, he owned a shop with nice antique jewellery, and on the other hand, created his own designs. So since my childhood I have been surrounded by really amazing things that you couldn’t see even in museums. For me jewellery art is so diverse that I cannot stick to one type.
The most significant aspects of our brand comprise workmanship that needs to be absolutely perfect, color schemes, and, of course, ability to wear our jewellery even with a T-shirt and jeans, which is so important especially nowadays.
– So you are the second generation, aren’t you?
– Not exactly. Our ancestors had handled it for many years. Then there was a gap, and my father took a charge of the company afterwards. So yes, we are a kind of second generation, but there have been a lot of jewelers before our family.
– What would you like to do in the next years? Any ideas in mind?
– The diamond mesh I showed you…I’d like to encrust it with the stones of different shapes.
– Because it’s technically interesting. To make a mesh with diamonds of different sizes is quite tough. At the beginning, you have an idea. First days you design, and then look from the practical perspective. Sometimes things are technically so challenging, especially when somebody tells me it’s not possible. But I’m having so much fun of doing it.
We have even some of our art collections in the safe, because we were 5-6 years early. I haven’t even shown them ever, as I know that we are too early. Sometimes it happens, because I never look at trends.
– You know so many things about antique, jewellery, history…You are inspired by music, art…
– My father is an antiquarian and a jeweler. My mother attended summer academy and was trained by Mr. Kokoschka, who was teaching her to paint. My great grandfather was one of the most significant writers ever. The whole family was always in art, however my parents never pushed me towards it. They are artistic and free-minded. They never forced me to do anything, but they had so much passion and fun with it, that I was totally captivated with this spark.
– What is special about art that people strive for it?
– For me it’s humanity. One of the biggest downturns of mankind, in comparison to animals, is that we find pleasure in killing. No other animal has that. But the greatest merit of people is art. When you look what people can create, how much love and craziness they express in their craftsmanship, you are lost in admiration. For me art is pure emotion. Art is what people of different epochs bequeath. It can even bring people together, and we won’t be where we are now without it.
– What emotions have you put in my favorite Maggie & Rudi ring?
– A couple of my friends asked me to make an engagement ring, and I offered them to create a traditional Austrian one. However, they said, “No, we want something special.” And I said to them, “Why do we need to make something special? A traditional Middle European engagement ring is unisex.” Eventually, I made the engagement ring, and everything was perfect. But I was so much inspired with the idea of unisex jewellery, that I started looking for the most amazing couples around the world. One of my friends told me about Maggie and Rudi. He saw them dancing together and it was the most breathtaking experience in his life. So I decided to create a range of jewellery that proclaims this amazing partnership.
– What is amazing partnership for you?
– People who are in love.
– And what is love for you?
– Love has so much to do with trust and attractiveness. It’s passion and peace. We are so stressed in our lives, that we just need calmness in relationships. I think it’s one of those words that are hard to describe.
– Is there someone who changed your life?
– Since I met Sarah, my wife, my life has definitely changed. I’m calm and happy.
– Do you have any family stories that helped you in life?
– One of the most influential members of my family was my grandfather. He was very famous coach of the Austrian national team. Once he was asked why he was never upset when they didn’t win. My grandfather smiled calmly and said, “Why should I expect anything? We prepared amazingly. We couldn’t do anything better in preparation. Then there comes the moment of truth. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. I wouldn’t have changed anything in preparation after we lost, because you also need a little bit of luck. But if your expectations are too high, you will always be upset. If you worked hard, and you just realize that you did all the best, you’ll never be distressed.
” When we prepare for something, and it works out very well, I am asked, “Aren’t you excited?” And I say, “No. I’m happy that it worked that well, but since I never expect anything like that, I’m neither overexcited, nor upset. I’m just deliriously happy when it works out.”
– During our life something happens by chance or due to our work. To your mind, how these things were balanced in your own life? Was it more by chance or because of your hard work?
– I think it’s always a combination of two. You have no luck when you’re not hardworking. I think luck has also a lot to do with your mindset. You can be the most hardworking person in the world, but if you don’t believe that luck favors you, then it won’t. You need to be able to wait for it to come.
– Once taking a risk, you can remain happy for the rest of your life. Do you agree?
– I think we risk every day, especially in jewellery business. Since I grew up with two parents who had always been self-employed, the risk was also a part of our lives. Sometimes we had harder times and sometimes we had a lot, so we always had friends over for dinner parties. I think we need to take risks.
– Does it mean that risk has been a part of your life from birth?
– Always. No risk, no champagne!
– What would you like to do in the nearest future?
– My biggest dream is to reach the same level as, for example, Hemmerle in Munich.
– Why is this level so attractive for you?
– Because of the craftsmanship. For example, for me J.A.R. is genius.
– If you could meet anyone in the world who had ever lived, who would it be?
– I think Alexander the Great.
– What would you ask him about?
– He was young, but had a feeling for other cultures. He didn’t destroy cities too much. He conquered a lot of countries, so he must have had an extreme understanding and empathy for the people he was coming to. I would also love to meet Mozart to see if he was as crazy as everybody describes him. It would be so interesting to have wise discussion with Suzanne Belperron, and find out how she was revolutionizing the jewellery industry, and where all her design ideas were coming from.
– What are your plans for the future?
– There are so many plans, but we don’t have enough time to accomplish them. I would say my second most important market besides Austria is England. Hong Kong…our office is still there, and I have a lot of friends, and really feel like home in Hong Kong. For me it’s a wonderful city. And Bangkok, of course.