In 1956, aged 26, designer Erik Granit founded his own workshop and design company, E. Granit & Co in Helsinki from where he worked for the rest of his life until he sadly passed in 1988. Granit designs, of which there are hundreds, are renowned for their bold simplicity, craftsmanship and attention to detail. In many ways they are the perfect embodiment of Finnish design philosophy.
Truly representative of a new era in modern jewellery, designs from E. Granit & Co. focus on clarity of technique and purity of form. He loved to use local Finnish stones, which was ground breaking in terms of jewellery design. He desire was to apply traditional materials in a distinctly modern way. Working with stones such as quartz, amethyst and spectrolite, all offering the benefit of inherent softness, designs with graceful forms were created. Granit also applied his skills to metalwork with modernistic abstractions often to be found adorning, in a striking manner, rings and bracelets.
Elis Kauppi could be considered the Grandfather of modernist jewellery. As the foremost figure, his vision and contemporary designs inspired a generation of makers and launched Finland onto the international jewellery design scene. In 1945, aged 24, Kauppi founded his renowned jewellery workshop 'Kupittaan Kulta', in Turku. Part of a younger generation of makers, driven to innovate in part by the difficult circumstances of war and in part by a desire to push the barriers of the accepted standards of jewellery design at that time, Kauppi's work would forever change the face of jewellery design.
Inspiration to so many who followed, his attention to simplicity and form stood out. As a true modernist, his designs emphasize abstraction, rejecting the popular flower and leaf designs that prevailed in much more traditional forties design. With strong focus on craftsmanship and integrity of design, his bold creations remain strikingly relevant today. He was one of the first to use Finnish sourced stones such as granite and spectrolite, incorporating them into unique designs in fresh and innovative ways. The exciting results attracted international attention with Kauppi exhibiting internationally, and winning prestigious prizes. Without doubt, as a result of his creative work, demand for Finnish jewellery worldwide increased dramatically.
Piekäinen has been recognized as an innovative designer both in Finland and on the wider international stage since the 1970's. He started his career with Kaunis Koru in the 1960’s, moving to Auran Kultaseppä, one of the oldest Finnish jewellery makers, to further his skills. He then served as artistic director and head designer at Kultakeskus Oy from 1971 to 1989. In 1991 he set out on his own, founding PlatinOro Oy which today remains, following his untimely death, a fully operational silversmith company, reproducing Piekäinen’s work.
Pekka Piekäinen’s designs adopt pure and simple lines often in sleek geometrical shapes. Like so many of the other designers he draws much inspiration from nature. He created unique and timeless pieces of jewellery and silverware. He also became a pioneer in Finland, for designing and implementing the first series of design watches for mass production. His reputation among other respected international silversmiths enabled him to design for Tissot, Omega and Lanco.
In 1976, Piekäinen received the State Prize of Industrial Design, and in 2002 The Finnish Goldsmith Association appointed him as The Goldsmith of the Year.
Weckström initially had his heart set on becoming a sculptor. However, at the age of 16 he was sent to the Goldsmith's school from which he graduated in 1956. On graduation, Weckström purchased his first workshop in Helsinki from where he set to work making jewellery with bold and clean forms, in pursuit of his vision that jewellery design could be recognised as an art form in its own right, on a par with that of modern sculpting.
He soon became a pioneering designer for Lapponia Jewelry, designing sculpture-like jewellery that drew inspiration from the shape and matte surface of gold nuggets from Finnish Lapland. His work in silver portrayed the snowy winter landscape, with its frozen lake surfaces. The distinctive Lapponia design language, recognised across the world, was born from the unique surfaces of the pieces that Weckström created.
In addition to jewelry design, Weckström is a recognized sculptor, glass designer and painter.
Liisa Vitali is one of the most popular designers in the field of Finnish jewellery in the 1960s and 1970s. Beginning her career at a young age, she developed her skills working alongside designer Tapio Wirkkala at the firm of Westerback Oy. As part of an avant garde group of jewellers she helped push Finland onto the international stage of design. Her work is predominantly inspired by nature. Liisa’s jewellery has not faded over the decades. She created an extensive collection and the popularity of her work, seen as quintessentially Finnish, means that her original creations are still reproduced today.