Kabana (Est. 1975) was founded in 1975 by master of inlay Stavros Eleftheriou. Its inspirations were a profound love of fine jewelry and superb craftsmanship. Eleftheriou established Kabana after he traveled from Greece to Albuquerque, New Mexico at the age of 22. His first American job was working with jewelry, and it immediately changed the course of his life.
For Stavros, that moment came when his business began to outgrow his home garage. Wanting to stay local, he moved his business into an adobe Mission church in Albuquerque. There, the church’s iconic bell tower inspired the name Kabana.
On Kabana’s official website, Stavros says, “I wanted a name that didn’t mean anything, like “Stavros Jewelry” or “Best Jewelry.” Kabana [is] easy to pronounce, easy to remember, and so it became our name. Nineteen seventy-six was the bicentennial of this wonderful country so the name was also romanticized by the Liberty Bell. From the historic Liberty Bell to the ringing of church bells on a wedding day, the sound of bells has resonated with countless beautiful memories and identifying moments that have shaped our lives today.”
He set up Kabana (which, in Greek does mean “bell”) in what once Albuquerque’s old Mission Church. The historic building became home to the skilled goldsmiths and craftspeople who make Kabana's distinctive Collections. Kabana is the renowned and undisputed Master of Inlay and one of the few jewelry manufacturing companies in the United States that does not outsource any portion of its product.
From the drawing table to finish, each piece is produced entirely in the United States. The innovative design team creates pieces of exquisite beauty and uses traditional inlay methods take it to new heights of expertise. It is the combination of contemporary design, time-honored methods and state of the art production facility that result in Kabana’s Collections.
In the 1970s, Kabana was first to introduce fine opal inlay in precious metals such as white and yellow gold. Today, Kabana continues to push the limits of imagination and excellence.
Kabana produces a labor-intensive product. Cutting, polishing and setting inlays is a minute and time-consuming activity. In order to achieve its high standards Kabana provides many jobs that teach craftsmanship and skill. It is also a great and loyal contribution to Stavros’ adopted country and supports the local and national economy.
What makes Kabana Jewelry unique is that, among other attributes, all pieces are made entirely in the US. To meet the high quality expectations of Americans, the company's approach to manufacturing is compelling. From casting, welding to mounting and finishing, every stage is performed by skilled American artists.
Kabana’s alluringly named collections are variously comprised of bracelets, earrings, pendants, rings (in many variations and colors) and made in gold with some also set in sterling silver.
Noteworthy among the collections is Lumiére inspired by the architectural wonders of late medieval France. It reflects the forms and expansive interior light of great gothic cathedrals. Elegant shapes, with soft round edges and pointed angles, glowing with the luminous depth of Kabana’s inlaid gems; each piece is a window of “light” in a quest for beauty.
Classics is Kabana’ most timeless collection with each gemstone meticulously sculpted by hand, then thoroughly hand polished to a seamless finish. Each piece radiates with personality and carries within it unparalleled depth.
In the Opal Collection, Kabana uses only the highest-grade crystal opal, known for its brilliant hues of greens, blues, yellows, reds and oranges.
In the Blush Collection, Kabana sets beautiful pink mother of pearl inlay in rose gold to create a warm and glowing effect that compliments any skin tone. Kabana sources this vibrant gem, with the richest pink colors, from the pristine waters of North America.
The Riviera Collections’ colors are produced from the shell of the Spiny Oyster, indigenous to the Mexican Riviera and Baja California. The myriad of fiery hues captures the sunset on the Mexican Riviera.
Riviera Dusk is inspired by the romantic allure the Mexican Riviera at sunset, deep hues of black mother of pearl and purple spiny oyster are complimented by pink mother of pearl, surrounded by rose gold. Its beautiful tones compliment every skin shade
Mati pieces date back to ancient times when talismans were created to ward off the evil eye. Kabana has transformed this classic folklore to an exquisite wearable work of art. With the Mati (“Mati” means “eye” in Greek) Collection’s watchful eye, the wearer is said to always be protected and stunningly adorned.
The Infinity Collection is distinguished by diamonds floating within edgeless pools of gemstone inlay and its elegant designs are the latest accomplishment in jewelry artistry at Kabana.
The sea has always been an inspiration at Kabana. From its materials to its brilliant colors, the Sealife Collection celebrates the finest and the most incredible species that inhabit the seas with colorful fish, exotic sea mammals, sea horses, starfish, turtles, and crustaceans.
In the Heart Collection each heart is hand sculpted by Kabana’s master craftsmen in beautiful pink mother of pearl and surrounded with diamonds.
The Equestrian Collection boasts diverse pieces for every equine discipline from Dressage and Jumpers to Reining and Barrel Racing and for every breed from Draft horse to Arabian. The designers explore the horse form in realistic and fantastic images.
The specifically named Men’s Collection is comprised of an assortment of rings, tie tacks, and cufflinks.
Many of Kabana’s employees have been with the brand for 10 years or more. They represent many cultures, including American Indian and Vietnamese. The design director, Remy Rotenier, is French.
One key to Kabana's success is the company's attention to quality. Each piece is inspected at least seven times at the Albuquerque plant before it is shipped out. Pieces range from $25 for silver to $35,000 for a custom gold necklace with inlaid gems.
Kabana has achieved a reputation for being the most skilled and artistic inlay jewelry maker in the world. It continually pushes the envelope of what can be achieved with inlay jewelry. Early on, it solved the challenge of working with Australian crystal opal when it was said it couldn’t be done, then extended the unique inlay expertise to many more prized gemstones and materials.