A fourth-generation jewellery maker, Marlen Hatzopoulou was born and raised in Istanbul where the multi-cultural environment shaped both her character and, much later, her professional path. However, her greatest influence was to experience life and art at her grandfather’s side. As a child, Marlen watched, enchanted, while he designed and crafted his pieces with care and sold them with courtesy and respect – among them the crosses and heavy pendants of the Greek Patriarchate clergy. Etched forever in her mind by vibrant colours and emotional attachment, these memories stayed with her throughout her high-school years when she and her family relocated to Athens. It was at her father’s jewellery shop this time, every summer and on high days and holidays, where Marlen was initiated further into the world of precious materials and coloured stones. The pull of this world brought out a fledgling talent in Marlen, along with genuine surprise when her first few designs were positively received. All her first pieces sold quickly and, though she herself did not realise it or even desire it at the time, her future path was decided there and then. Believing that her future lay elsewhere, Marlen studied marketing and public relations, keeping her love of jewellery to herself. But this did not last long. A tantalising suggestion by her father that she should take charge of a new shop near Syntagma Square brought her back to her true path. Marlen took on the challenge and began to immerse herself in all aspects of the jewellery business. Every day, apart from the design side that she was already familiar with, she discovered a more fascinating world than she could ever have imagined – a world alive with the spirit of creativity and commerce. As she delved deeper into this world and learned its secrets, Marlen came to realise that there was something other than the obvious beauty that attracted her to jewellery making – it was more a connection to symbolism, values, sacred rites and ancient memories. As luck would have it, it was then that Marlen discovered a small space in the Anafiotika neighbourhood, nestled beneath the Acropolis, which spoke to her soul. She acquired the space just as she came to the realisation that it was time to strike out on her own. She would always be a Hatzopoulou, and would remain faithful to the family traditions, but it was time to be just Marlen and to follow her own creative path. While keeping to the classical principles of jewellery making, learned from her parents and grandparents, Marlen began to experiment with unexpected combinations, one of her favourite tasks. She was captivated by different materials and colours, she experimented with weight and texture, she improvised with wood, stones, metal, fabric, leather and bone, and she let her mind wander through realms of beauty which conquered her and became her art. When asked about inspiration, Marlen has an immediate answer – for her, inspiration is part of the soul, it is in the moment, it is the spirit of life itself in all its animate and inanimate forms.