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This week, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Kaija Aarikka, one of Finland’s most celebrated jewelry designers. Her forward-thinking designs are some of my very favourite of all Nordic jewelry. I’ve been lucky to have several pieces pass through Hopea’s collection and I always wonder at the imagination and skill they display. Her work is joyful and exuberant; I can only imagine the person behind it was much the same.

Kaija studied textile design at the Institute of Industrial Art and first began to design jewelry in the late 1950s. Her work during this early period consisted of necklaces of silver tubes and small wooden cubes. In the early 1960s, she moved onto her iconic pieces constructed with birch balls and wire. In the mid-60s, she developed her silver design jewelry.

Her pieces are of pure imagination and abstraction with no room for naturalism. Inspired by the jingling rings of traditional Lapland, she created her jewelry to include moving parts which would sound to enhance the vividness of the pieces. To her, jewelry was meant to be worn and the pieces were executed accordingly in a dramatically large scale. She was also quite inspired by space travel in the late 1960s. These were pieces that helped define her long standing approach which employed reduced and even austere forms with large, smooth surfaces of silver. All pieces were handmade until the 1970s, when she began casting small pieces. Her achievements were remarkable and in her lifetime Kaija turned her one-woman shop into an considerable enterprise that is now carried on by her daughter Pauliina Aarikka.

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1 / Necklace and bracelet from 1963. via Jewelry in Finland, Designmuseo, 2013

2 / Bracelets from the early 1970s via Jewelry in Finland, Designmuseo, 2013

3 / Bracelet from the early 1970s. (Hopea)

4 / Necklace from 1974. (Hopea)

5 / Modelled rings from the late 1960s.

6 / Necklace designed by Alpo Jääskeläinen for Aarikka’s studio in 1969. (Hopea)

vintage Torun Bulow Hube necklace vintage Torun Bulow Hube necklace vintage Torun Bulow Hube necklace vintage Torun Bulow Hube necklace vintage Torun Bulow Hube jewelry vintage Torun Bulow Hube jewelry Torun Bulow Hube and Picasso

I am so pleased to have located one of Torun Bülow-Hübe’s fantastic pieces of jewelry to add to Hopea’s collection. Her ingenious designs are simple but expertly crafted. Though not overtly feminine, her pieces are of a style that women want to wear, even half a century later. When you try on a piece, you can feel how it perfectly accounts for the curves of the human body. Information about her remarkable life and career is available in many places online but you have to feel her work in person to fully appreciate the level of her accomplishment. The piece that is currently available on Hopea is a neck ring that is accompanied by two interchangeable pendants. The modular style of the piece gives it great versatility.

View more details here.

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Here’s a sneak peek at some beautiful new pieces soon to be added on Hopea.

1 / Kupittaan Kulta geometric pendant. Finland, 1968. Simple yet intricate.

2 / NE From Denmark modernist pendant. An unusual, modernist design by the renowned producer.

3 / Björn Weckström for Lapponia titled “Four Winds”. This stunning ring is currently available on the website. 

For updates as they happen, click the button below to follow Hopea on Instagram!

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Vintage Scandinavian Gold pendant by Elis KauppiVintage Scandinavian Gold pendant by Elis Kauppi

Vintage Scandinavian Gold pendant by Elis Kauppi

I just had to share an arrival which was on my doorstep this morning. This stunning 1966 pendant by Finnish designer Elis Kauppi embodies so much about what I love about jewelry from Finland; bold scale, graceful geometric shapes, and a sense of fun.

It’s also remarkably fresh. It reminds me of the large luxury pieces from the new Tiffany Legacy line whose campaign appears in this month’s Vogue. (Karen Elson is also fabulous…)

Karen Elson for Tiffany's Legacy 2012

vintage scandinavian necklace by kultateollisuus ky

vintage scandinavian necklace by salovaara

vintage scandinavian ring by liisa vitali

The diversity of Nordic jewelry design can be a blessing and a curse when you’re trying to curate a cohesive collection. The pieces above, all from Finland, illustrate a general direction I plan on pursuing with Hopea; graphic, geometric designs with an emphasis on clean lines.

1 / Kultateollisuus Ky necklace – coming soon
2 /  Kultaseppa Salovaara “Aukko” necklace
3 / Lisa Vitali ring – silver with a loose Carnelian ball.

Danish designer Anita Johansen is launching the first piece of her furniture collection ReFurnish/ReUpholster at next week’s opening of The Danish Design School’s Graduation Show 2012 in Copenhagen.

A central part of the project for Anita surrounds the history and preservation of the Scandinavian uphostery sector which has come into jeopardy in the face of outsourcing. She wanted to explore innovative production techniques and material uses in which local industry could remain competitive.

The result is a removable upholstery which can be easily installed (and washed!) from home. The piece is made with two traditional Nordic elements – oak and felt. The results are clean and frankly stunning. I can’t wait to see more.

More info at Anita Johansen.

Via.

On Good Friday, my friend Laura and I decided to mill around Kensington for the afternoon. It was a blustery Spring day and the market was packed. The fish mongers were frying up lobster tails, clams and mackerel and the energy was just fantastic!

My favourite meals are the ones where you pick and choose from the market and then mosey to a park bench to eat.

Above is one of my favourite cheeses, La Sauvagine and the last smoked sausage I’ll ever buy European Meats which closed for business after more than 50 years the next day. Wish I would have known – I could have stocked up!

Find the fish.

Hopea for NordicDesign.ca

I’m pleased to share a guest post I wrote this week for excellent blog Nordic Design. Catherine at Nordic Design does a great job curating the site with lots of inspiring images and thought-provoking features so I was very happy indeed to be invited to share some of the history of Nordic jewelry design.

My history buff (read: dork) side went a little nuts when I was allowed free reign with the article. It was a great opportunity to get more in depth about with the history of the aesthetic and the broader movement behind it. I hope that readers will find the story behind these excellent designers as fascinating as I do!

Read the article here.