Germund Paaer’s original designs for the Halikko necklace (1940s).
Writer Elsa Heporauta (1883-1960) founded Kalevala Jewelry. She wanted to establish a statue to honor the Finnish woman. The manufacturing of Kalevala Jewelry was started to fund the statue.
1930s: The story of Kalevala Jewelry begins
Writer Elsa Heporauta had a dream: she wanted to establish a statue to honor the Finnish woman. Other influential women became inspired by the idea also, and to fund the project women decided to manufacture and sell copies of old viking era jewelry. They selected 40 models from the historical collections of the National Museum of Finland and the promotion started the best possible way: the first collection of jewelry was introduced in December 1937 at the tea party of the First Lady of Finland, Kaisa Kallio. The jewelry had become alive - the story of Kalevala Jewelry had begun.
The new jewelry collection became highly popular, but other plans were affected by the start of the Winter War. The statue funds were decided to be used for helping people in need during the war, making charity a permanent value at the company. The women who planned the idea for the statue established Kalevala Women's Association, a cultural organization that still owns Kalevala Jewelry.
After the war
Germund Paaer, a distinguished artist, became the head of design at Kalevala Jewelry. He designed jewelry in his own style but the motifs had a strong connection with history. Simultaneously a vision for a modern, comtemporary collection sprung up within the company. In 1947 Kalevala Jewelry held a design competition that got the attention of the 1940s rising artists. The prize winning designs set the foundation for the Kalevala Jewelry contemporary collection. New designers Eero Rislakki, Börje Rajalin and Paula Häiväoja were committed to simple and bold jewelry. The open-minded approach to design made Kalevala Jewelry one of the top design companies in Finland in the 50s and 60s.
During the following decades the collections successfully reflected the tastes and designs of the era. Bronze jewelry became an everlasting trend. In 1989 Kalevala Jewelry bought a jewelry manufacturer Kaunis Koru, known for their passion for modern designs.
Today Kalevala Jewelry is still the forerunner of jewelry making. New technologies are constantly combined with precise goldsmiths' handcraft. And it is remarkable that all the jewelry is still handmade in Finland.
Homage to Finnish woman
The dream of Elsa Heporauta eventually came true. The statue for Finnish woman resides in the premises of the Kalevala Jewelry factory in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. In fact, the whole history of Kalevala Jewelry is an homage to Finnish woman. The company was founded by women and it is owned by the Kalevala Women's Association. The company has always been managed by skillful women and many famous jewelry pieces have been designed by women - designers such as Kirsti Doukas and Marja Suna.
Through the decades one thing has stayed the same: here at Kalevala Jewelry modern and historical jewelry collections live side by side. Jewelry has always been essential - jewelry with a story to tell.
A new Kalevala Jewelry flagship store was opened in Esplanadi, Helsinki, in the autumn of 2013 .
During the last decade Kalevala Jewelry has been working closely with many artists. Tomi Joutsen, the singer of Amorphis, pictured with Tervas bracelets.
2007: a numbered special edition of the Polaris collection was manufactured in yellow and white gold to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Kalevala Jewelry.
”For a very conservative man”. A slogan for men's jewelry campaign in 2001.
”Men have worn jewelry before trousers”. A slogan for men's jewelry campaign in 2001.
In 2001, Kalevala Jewelry moved into new premises in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. The same building occupies the production, office and the factory outlet store.
The Sun Lion collection celebrated Kalevala Jewelry's 60th anniversary in 1997. A numbered special series of 180 golden Sun Lion necklaces were manufactured.
Designer Marja Suna joined the designer team in the end of 1990s. Her collection Wind was first created for Kalevala Jewelry's subsidiary Kaunis Koru.
In the 1990s, jewelry pieces based on historical protypes became highly popular. This ring is made after a 12th century ring found in Yliskylä, Perniö.
1990s: Alkuaika-collection by Kaisaleena Mäkelä celebrated the 150th anniversary of Kalevala, the national epic of Finland. The fauna motifs are derived from prehistorical jewelry prototypes
WOW collection by Kirsti Doukas for Kaunis Koru.
Spectrolite jewelry piece Lehti by designer Kirsti Doukas for Kalevala Jewelry's subsidiary Kaunis Koru.
In 1989 Kalevala Jewelry acquired Kaunis Korun, a jewelry company focusing on modern design. Pictured a spectrolite bracelet by Mirjan Salminen.
This silver necklace celebrated the 150th anniversary of Kalevala, Finland's national epic. The prototype for the necklace was found in Hämeenlinna.
A jewelry ad image from the 1980s.
Kalevala Jewelry's stand at the jewelry fair in Copenhagen in 1975.
Kalevala Jewelry's stand at the jewelry fair in Copenhagen in 1975.
Ad image from the 70s showcasing historical rings.
Kalevala Jewelry rings designed by Eila Minkkinen.
Jewelry designs by Pentti Sarpaneva from the Kalevala Jewelry collection in 1960-70.
In the 70s Kalevala Jewelry's collection also included dresses and accessories manufactured by our very own dressmakers.
Ad image from the 60s showcasing designs by Bengt Eriksson.
Ad image from the 60s showcasing designs by Inger Lindholm.
Ad image from the 60s showcasing designs by Börje Rajalinin.
Actress Tea Ista wearing a golden Catherine necklace with 55 precious stones from Finland. The necklace was designed by Börje Rajalin.
Ad image from the 60s with an earring based on a historic prototype by the Skolt Sami people.
Kalevala Jewelry bracelets in the 60s.
Miss Finland 1968 was crowned with a rented Kalevala Jewelry bridal crown. The money from the rented crown went to support the blinded victims of war.
In 1962 the presidential couple of Finland, Urho and Sylvi Kekkonen, received Kalevala Jewelry's silver ladle from Vähäkyrö.
At the architects' dance party in London in 1962. Princess Margaret accompanied by Lady Lorna Matthew wearing Kalevala Jewelry's Halikko necklace.
These earrings showcase the modern approach to design by Kalevala Jewelry's first female head of design, Paula Häiväoja.
The silver decorative piece designed by Börje Rajalin won a gold medal in Triennale di Milano in 1960.
Kalevala Jewelry products were sold in special booths during the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.
Kalevala Jewelry's shop window in Helsinki became famous for its new and modern approach for displaying the jewelry. The picture was taken in 1955.
Keskuskatu 7 in Helsinki was the location of the first Kalevala Jewelry shop.
The jewelry design competition held in 1947 received propositions from 325 participants. The competition marks the beginning of the modern jewelry design at Kalevala Jewelry.
Created by sculptor Emil Halonen, the Louhi statue that started the history of Kalevala Jewelry resided in the premises of the restaurant Kestikartano.
Kestikartano was a dining and dancing place in the center of Helsinki, that was founded by the Kalevala Women's Association. The restaurant, located in Keskuskatu 5, supported temperance and was highly popular from 1956 to 1967.
Also war invalids were employed in jewelry production during the war when labour force was scarce.
Kalevala Jewelry stand at a fair in 1948.