Ilias Lalaounis was born in 1920 and was the fourth generation of a family of Greek goldsmiths and watchmakers. He studied at the University of Athens but ultimately made his was to the family business Zolotas, run by his uncle, which he joined in 1940. He learned as an apprentice goldsmith everything about jewelry. Here he studied jewelry, construction, and ancient works. He practiced the craft and finally produced his first two collections in 1957. When his uncle died, Lalaounis left Zolotas to creat his own company in 1969 headquartered overlooking the Acropolis. Here he produced collections every six months. This changing collection allowed him to sell rather quickly and this pushed him to open other shops. First on surrounding Greek islands, and then in Europe including Paris and Geneva before eventually taking his unique brand to cities such as New York and Tokyo. In 1993 the company moved its workshops in to new purpose built facilitates and redesigned the existing building to house ‘The Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum’. Their permanent collection includes over 4000 pieces. In 1998 he passed control of the business to his four daughters and shortly thereafter in 2013 he passed away.