It’s hard not to find yourself envious of a life like Ileana Makri’s. For starters, she’s based in Greece, surrounded by innumerable islands to entertain her every travel whim. And secondly, she’s the creator of the celebrity-approved Ileana Makri jewelry collection, a highlight of the Barneys New York cases since its arrival in 1996.

This month the collection expands with the addition of I a M by Ileana Makri, a line of cuffs, necklaces and pendant earrings with an edginess that’s contemporary, but at a price point that’s a bit softer on the wallet (each piece retails under $1,000). The craftsmanship is predictably exquisite (swirling filigree, gold-plated appliqué and delicate layers of cable chain) and the iconography (dragonflies, dove, latticework and lace) is as enchanting as ever.

We spoke with Ileana about the inspiration for the new I a M “Nostalgia” collection and asked the designer to name her preferences among those aforementioned Greek isles.

You’re calling the first collection of your I a M line “Nostalgia.” Can you tell us a little bit about this?
I feel that today more than ever, because it is such a strong transitional period, there is an intense feeling of nostalgia for things and times that are either transforming or drifting apart. The Nostalgia collection is a nod to certain features from the past that I now find relevant and look to celebrate. It is inspired by the decorative brass features on old furniture, hand embroidery, and lace—motifs that were developed long ago, but remain a pertinent reference for this collection’s design concept.

Who is the I a M collection for?
The I a M collection is for women who love to wear jewellery every day and don’t want to think about it too much. I find that they are statement pieces, yet easy to wear on an everyday basis.

What about Greece do you find to be inspiring? Which are your favorite sites and cities?
You get inspired in so many different ways as it is a very beautiful country with a lot of wisdom deriving from its rich ancient history. I am particularly intrigued by the element of the sea and my favorite places are Thessaloniki, Athens, the island of Patmos and the island of Crete, all surrounded by water.

We know this is a near impossible-to-answer question but, any favorites from this new line? Is there a piece you just can’t seem to take off?
The beetle cuff (3). I love it!

1. Gold crescent earrings; 2. Gold wing pendant necklace; 3. Bronze beetle cuff; 4. Long filigree necklace; 5. Large filigree cuff

 Images courtesy of Ileana Makri and Bartek Lingas.