Greek Jeweler Ilias Lalaounis originally studied economics before joining the family tradition of jewelry manufacturing in 1940, and later opening his first salon in Athens in 1968. Inspired by ancient Greek art, the pieces from the house of LaLaounis are distinctive and easily recognizable. Ilias Lalaounis became internationally known when Aristotle Onassis bought pieces for Maria Callas and later Jacqueline Kennedy. The daughters of Ilias Lalaounis have continued the tradition of making very fine jewelry and run the firm consisting of 13 boutiques worldwide. Today the Lalaounis empire includes boutiques in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and London in addition to the flagship in Athens.
In 1993, the Lalaounis Jewelry Museum opened in Athens.