The Legend of Dionysus
Greek mythology has been an enduring source of inspiration for creatives throughout history. At Simon Harrison, symbols of this ancient form of storytelling can be found interspersed amongst most of our collections - form the Icarus in Fire and Ice to the Minerva in our Icons collection. However, there is one Greek god that truly encapsulates the hedonistic, rebellious feeling of the brand and that is Dionysus.
Dionysus was the Olympian god of the vine, pleasure and parties. The illegitimate son of Zeus, he has a colourful life story travelling around Earth, teaching farmers how to cultivate wine.
The myths surrounding this unique God inspired our collection in numerous ways, and each piece recognises a certain element of the Dionysus story.
Various animals are synonymous with Dionysus, although the leopard is certainly the most prolific when examining his history. Many believed that he rode on the back of a leopard or in a chariot drawn by a pair of them. He is often depicted wearing a leopard skin and the priests of Dionysus wore the skins of leopards in rituals of awakening spiritual forces and desires. Leopards are a key feature in our Dionysus collection - from pendants to bracelets - capturing the distinctive pattern of their skin and evoking a primal sense of style.
Bears also feature in our Dionysus collection, inspired by the story of the god’s escape from pirate capture. After being mistaken for a prince, he was kidnapped and held for ransom. The god turned into a lion and manifested a bear to help him escape. Dionysus escaped the shackles of the ship, making this particular myth synonymous with freedom and liberty. The highly detailed and unique Bear bracelets and earrings are full of movement and expression and similarly refuse to be confined by the shackles of stylistic conventions.
One of the most common animals sacrificed to honour Dionysus were rams. This is possibly because rams were a key feature of his early life story. To protect his son, Zeus turned him into a ram so he could transfer him safely to nymphs of Mount Nysa. In the Dionysus collection, rams are included in rings and pendants, in recognition of their connection to Dionysus and the role they played in helping him survive against the odds.
Rams are also featured in other areas of Greek mythology, most notably the golden fleeced ram that was central to the most famous quest of Jason and the Argonauts. At Simon Harrison, the golden fleece is perfectly recreated using a combination of gold and stainless steel and is coveted in the same way as the original ram in the myth.