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Meet the Greeks
Hellenic Entrepreneurship & Exceptional Craftsmanship
Komboloi Museum

A One-Of-A-Kind Museum on a Worldwide Scale

Address: 26, Staikopoulou Street Telephone: 0030.27520.21618 Website: Komboloi.gr

In April of 1998, the Evangelinos family, Aris Evangelinos and Rallou Gromitsari, a couple who have been collecting and studying the mysteries of komboloi for forty years, established the first, one of a kind museum of a worldwide scale, Komboloi Museum in the poetic city of Nafplio.The Komboloi museum is a candy store for the anxious; one wall is covered to the ceiling in strands of cabernet red, amber orange and saffron yellow beads, which are smooth to the touch and feel like poetry to the fingertips, some are translucent, others built of so many layers that the eye loses its way before the center is discerned. Within this museum, Aris Evangelinos repairs older komboloi and sells contemporary versions of traditional designs. Hanging on the back wall are black and white photos of a komboloi workshop in Egypt, and the first Greek worship to make the beads. Upstairs is a museum of rosaries and prayer beads. In the past few hundred years, the Greeks have transformed worrying from a pedestrian experiment to high art. Komboloi have all but cured anxiety. In many countries beads are associated with prayer, but on the streets of contemporary Greece, komboloi supply calm companionship and a certain chic. Worrying them is colorful, rhythmic, and sensuous. Aris wrote a book about his lifetime with komboloi, his passing for this unassuming strand of beads passing down to him from his grandfather, his trips through Egypt and Turkey searching for workshops that made quality beads. “…The eyes alone cannot decide which is the best and most beautiful…the eyes and ears must agree as well…” Aris’ grandfather had told him. Indeed, there are so many different kinds of beads you could not possibly decide which is the best for you if you didn’t knew that the most desirable ones are made from solid amber, but impossible to find as it is as old as you can never imagine. Second best come the beads made from faturan amber filings combined with some sort of resin; this is where expertise come in, as the color of the bead, the shape and the weight, which account for the critically important and harmonious click of bead on bead. The edges must be considered as well as whether the amber is opaque or translucent. Many of these choices are purely personal, but certain qualities are unarguably superior to others. It was clear that Aris was a connoisseur of komboloi, and any ship-shod, shiny, metal elements or lengths of chain were not to be tolerated. However, Aris had been a rug merchant before devoting himself solely to komboloi, and his history and expertise showed through his uptown connoisseurship. Undeniably, Aris Evangelinos knows all about the mysteries of the wonderful art of komboloi. Are you ready to unveil them? (Source: Latimes.com)