Jewelers talk about their work

Kalevala Koru was founded in 1937. The company's nine decades have been full of good work, Finnish craftsmanship and top moments in jewelry design. What is it like to work in a company that almost every Finn knows?

"It will come as a surprise to many that we make jewelry by hand in Finland"


Taru Harmaala Chaloff, model maker

"I grew up in Ostrobothnia in a family that always did a lot by hand and cherished the old craft tradition - rugs and furniture were also made by ourselves. My mother's mother-in-law made violins and I often secretly sneaked into her hutch to try chisels and planes. It was so fascinating.

My mother used a lot of Lapponian jewelry and I realized that jewelry can be just that, works of art. I studied goldsmithing because it combines art and craftsmanship"

At Kalevala Koru, I have been a goldsmith, model maker and designer for 14 years. Many will be surprised by the amount of handwork in Kalevala jewelry and that they are made here in Finland at all.

The goldsmith's professionalism and carrying forward the century-old jewelry tradition is a legacy that we cherish. I don't particularly think about it when I design and make jewelry, but that's what it is.

"Today, a woman from Kaleva is a brave and self-confident traveler who lives her life the way she wants," says Taru Harmaala Chaloff.

In my work as a model maker, I collaborate with artists. They bring an idea, a sketch or a prototype to product development, and I go with them to work on the idea so that it eventually becomes a piece of jewelry for our production. It's easy for me to talk with artists because I'm also a designer by training. Kalevala Jewelry's Haltija and Louhetar series are my designs.

Nature has always meant a lot to me. The newest jewelry series I designed is Nolla, which was inspired by nature and disappearing flowers. When we found an innovative and completely new kind of biomaterial as a material, things fell into place.

It usually takes about half a year to work on a piece of jewelry with artists. Sometimes it can be challenging to get the structure, surface and shapes of the jewelry to be exactly what the artist wants. At the same time, the jewelry must be able to be made in series production. For example, I worked on the Tundra designed by Jukka Puljujärvi of halon with 3D technology for many months, so that we could get a complex enough shape. It was a project I really got excited about, the jewelry idea was so wild, and the end result was great.

Whenever a piece of jewelry is finished, I spend quite a lot of time admiring it. It's a euphoric feeling. If I've made a really good mechanical lock, I click it and listen to its wonderful sound.

I can't imagine ever retiring from the craft. The feeling you get from it is so great.”

Get to know Taru Harmaala Chaloff and the jewelry she designs, which show a strong relationship with nature.

"Art, skill and stories come together in a great way"

Mari Wilenius, jewelry expert and seller at the Kalevala store on Keskuskatu

"I previously worked in the auction world as a jewelry specialist. When I founded my own art and jewelry appraisal company in 2017, I wanted a work community alongside it. Kalevala Koru seemed like the most interesting company in the industry. There are such high-quality domestic products here - art, skill and stories come together in a great way.

The heritage of Kalevala Jewelry can be seen in every customer encounter. We talk a lot with customers about jewellery, their stories, design and history. Tourists are usually excited that the jewelry is based on old archeological finds and folklore designs. Some are like national treasures.

The exotic nature of the north also impresses especially foreign buyers. We have a unique nature in Finland, and its calmness and serenity are included in quite a few pieces of jewelry.

"I'm proud every day when I go to work. I never have to fake being interested in my work."

My favorite designer is Björn Weckström , whose jewelry production I have quite extensive experience and knowledge of. In his productions, gesturelessness, timelessness and powerful formal language speak, a certain kind of solidity. I also have a lot of respect for Kirsti Doukas, who is a versatile designer. The stories behind his jewelry are really deep and carefully thought out: they tell a strong Kalevala story in modern language. Kalevala Jewelry has always been renewed throughout history. It is interesting to be involved in taking the story to the coming decades.

My own love of jewelry was born as a child. My mother has always been interested in modern jewelry and she wore spectacular designer jewelry as early as the 1950s and 60s - and still does, at the age of 89.

As a child, I received Kalevala jewelry as a gift from my godmother every anniversary. I still wear, for example, the bracelet from Livonia that I got when I was 10 years old, which combines a folk design and a geometric design language. I am a relatively restrained user of jewelry, but jewelry always completes the style and gives the feeling of a satisfied, good day. Jewelry brings confidence.

I am proud every day when I go to work. I never have to fake an interest in my work.”

Read Mari Wilenius' article about Björn Weckström.

Sari, goldsmith, jeweler for over 28 years.

"In a long-lived company like this, over the decades, there has been a huge number of jewelry manufacturing professionals. It's a nice thought to have been able to make and develop these jewelry myself."

Peek into the world of Kalevala

Kalevala jewelry is a timeless design. They are like miniature sculptures, meant to be used from everyday to festive, year after year - every day.

Blog author: Gut Studio