We love a good local story and this one is no exception. Athena Argyrakis proves it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. She’s a Joburg-based jewellery designer who has just launched her own brand, Athena A Accessories, but getting to this point took some turns. After an award-winning career in film editing, Athena decided to pursue her love of fashion at age 30 and off she went to Milan to study shoe design, but found her confidence in her drawing skills waning. Nevermind – she worked even harder and can now add drawing to her range of skills. Armed with her newfound talent, she then did a shoe making course in London at the same place of study as Kurt Geiger and Jimmy Choo, the prestigious London College of Fashion.

It was during this time she discovered she had cancer, but despite the difficulty she faced, she overcame it and decided to turn her life around. “When one is faced with adversity, you can either sit down and let it consume you or you can use every tool and belief you have…to turn it all around”, Athena explains. Upon returning to South Africa and a chance encounter with a jeweller named Stephen, she turned her attention towards jewellery design and Athena A Accessories was born.

All of her pieces are handmade by a small community of local craftsmen. Made from brass, aluminium and East African Ankole cow horn, her jewellery reflects a distinctly African heritage and beauty. They’re all about finding and celebrating the goddess within, so each piece is named after a goddess. When explaining the use of the cow horn, Athena explains “Typically their horns are burnt but this is not environmentally friendly. So why not collect the horns and transform them into something beautiful – distinct pieces of jewellery. Each horn is unique in colouring, making each piece different”.

Her love of shoe design still lives on and the range will later expand to offer her distinctive handbags and shoes.

“As I present my pieces to you, I do so with the feeling of excitement and confidence that I can create. We all can create. Don’t give up on that dream.” Excellent words to live by.

Shop Athena A Accessories on her online store here.

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