PUBLISHED: 6:46 AM on Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Jewelry and art
In the back corner of the Glacier Gem and Jewelry store, Lambros Magiafas crouches over his worktable with black-rimmed magnifying glasses perched on his nose, a ring clamped in front of him, and his hands, sooted from work, manipulating tweezers and torch to mold a unique piece of fine jewelry.

Owner of both Glacier Gem and Lambros Goldsmiths, each located on South Franklin, as well as two stores in Washington D.C. and one in Skagway, Magiafas prides himself on being an artist.

A four-time winner of the East Coast Jeweler's Association competition, Magiafas recently had his work donated for display at the Smithsonian Museum by a loyal collector.

"People ask if I will retire but I say I never will because I am doing my passion," he said, "I just want to make beautiful jewelry."

Even in his store, it is the art that is the focus. Throughout the room, drawings of Magiafas' designs are displayed next to the finished pieces. Visitors are able to see the artist's process as well as the artist at work. As Magiafas has been a jeweler for over thirty-five years, it is impressive to watch him design while seeing the finished product.

Magiafas took to the art at an early age. When he was twelve, Magiafas' cousin suggested he begin a jeweler's apprenticeship in his native Greece. By the time he was 17 he was already known for his talents and was commissioned to create the crown for Miss Crete. Ready to set up his own shop, Magiafas decided to first take a two week vacation to Washington D.C. and never returned to Greece

Kelly Manning photos
  Artist and goldsmith Lambros Magiafas recently had some of his jewelry donated to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. Magiafas owns two jewelry stores there and also stores in Skagway and in Juneau.
Twenty-five years later, Magiafas is still here and now runs all five of his stores with his family. His Juneau and Skagway are open during tourism season only, though.

Magiafas travels to gem shows all over the world to find unique stones. Working from those pieces, he then develops a design and has stonecutters create swirled and asymmetrical shapes from fine stones such as blue chalcedony and black onyx with druzy quartz. He then sets the shaped stones in hand formed gold.

Kelly Manning photos
He also artfully re-imagines Alaskan themed pieces such as whale's tails and gold quartz. He said that his aim is to use familiar shapes or stones to create stunning and inventive jewelry.

"I want to bring a new flare to Alaska products."