This is not another marketing tale, but the real history written by the people of the Aegean Sea.
Sponge diving and trading are perhaps one of Greece’s oldest industries. From the days of Plato to the grandeur of the Byzantine empire until its last days of prosperity, but a few decades ago, sponge trading shaped the very economical and socio-political nature of Greece. Islands such as Kalymnos and Symi enjoyed a wealth that has left a legacy to this day.
Yet greed and misfortune befell this once great industry; overfishing and a succession of diseases brought these natural sea sponges to the very verge of extinction resulting in the collapse of the entire industry. An ecological tragedy, it also proved to be an economic and social disaster; 20,000 jobs were lost along with millions of dollars in export revenue. Following the collapse of the Greek sponge industry, many sponge divers migrated to Tarpon Springs, Florida, where new sponge bearing fields were discovered. Those who remained in Greece turned to fishing as their livelihood and sponge diving became a profession of the past.
Today only a few sponge divers are left on the island of Kalymnos, once an island considered to be the sponge capital of the world. Sponge diving and the ancient cultural heritage that it represented was considered a skill consigned to a fading few and the exhibitions of museums...
Until Cleopatra's was born.
Where it all began...
Anargyros is a student-entrepreneur and diver who has held a lifelong love of the sea and its hidden treasures. From a young age he became fascinated with the legends of Greek sponge divers and their tales of deep sea exploration.
In 2016, resolved to revive this fading industry and the dying sponge population he made his first journey to Kalymnos.
Interviewing the remaining sponge traders of the island he hoped to understand the problems that had plagued the industry and caused its’ demise. It was in Kalymnos that a retired sponge diver, Captain Antonis, presented him with an authentic Mollissima sponge. The Mollissima is widely acknowledged as the finest sponge in the world and is found only in certain sponge bearing fields in the Aegean Sea. Immediate excitement was tempered as the Captain explained that this particular sponge was all but extinct by a combination of a disease that had struck 30 years ago and continuous over fishing. As a consequence, it was no longer available for purchase.
From this moment on Anargyros decided to focus his efforts on saving the Mollissima species and reintroduce it to the market. Thus ensuring that the future generation will also be able to enjoy the unsurpassed softness and velvety texture of this underwater treasure that transform every-day skin care to a trully luxurious experience.
Today, almost 2 years after that first trip to Kalymnos and after many trials and tribulations we are proud to be the only company in the world to sustainably produce and offer you the Aegean Mollissima: the finest of all the sponges. These sponges of fine and unbeatable quality have been harvested in a sustainable, cruelty-free way that is highly beneficial to the local marine ecosystem.
With your support we succeed, every day, in our mission to save the Mollissima sponge whilst preserving the ancient cultural heritage of sponge diving and supporting local island communities. We offer the finest sponges in the world, harvested with love, from the depths of the Aegean Sea to you.
Cleopatra's Sponges. P.C. is an awarded company, that started as a romantic idea of a university student. A simple idea that grew to change an entire industry.