Tag Archive | Finnish silver

Liisa Vitali

Liisa Vitali (born in Helsinki, Finland on 9 November 1918, died on her 69th birthday, 9 November 1987) was a Finnish jewellery designer and maker known for her modernist designs that were often drawn from nature. Her jewellery series include the ‘Ladybird’, ‘Lace’, ‘Gardenia’ and ‘Cat’s paw’ designs.

Liisa Vitali.

1971 Liisa Vitali ‘Ladybird’ sterling silver ring with trapped carnelian orb. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

Liisa’s family moved to a farm at Viluksela, a small village in the municipality of Somero in southern Finland, in 1920. After the death of her parents, Liisa and her brother Väinö continued to look after the farm. Liisa had long been interested in jewellery design, winning a school competition with a jewellery set that she had made.

Liisa Vitali. Love how her blouse matches her jewellery!

Some of Liisa Vitali’s designs, including Pitsi (‘Lace’) in the main panel, Leppäkerttu ja iso kivi (‘Ladybird and big stone’) top right, Nuppu (‘Bud’) middle right, and Muurahaisenpolku (‘Ant’s path’ or ‘Ant trail’) bottom right.

Liisa Vitali Pitsi (‘Lace’) bracelet, 1973, in sterling silver. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

As I don’t read Finnish I have found it hard to piece together much more about Liisa’s life: there appear to be conflicting reports of her training, or lack thereof, and which jewellers she may or may not have worked with.

I have read that she started making jewellery to sell in the 1950s, self-taught and working from a home workshop on a small scale in between her farming duties; that she started her career in jewellery-making working for jeweller Kaija Aarikka; that she trained for a short time alongside the great designer Tapio Wirkkala at the Nestor Westerback workshop; that at first her designs were only available from her workshop on the farm, and from Kaija Aarikka’s shop.

Vitali’s designs were manufactured by various companies, including Aatos Hauli, Mauri Sarparanta, Nestor Westerback Ky, and Kultakeskus.

1960s advert for Liisa Vitali’s jewellery.

Some of Liisa Vitali’s designs, including examples of  Pitsi (‘Lace’), Leppäkerttu ja iso kivi (‘Ladybird and big stone’), Nuppu (‘Bud’), and Muurahaisenpolku (‘Ant trail’).

Perhaps her most famous designs are the Leppäkerttu ja iso kivi (‘Ladybird and big stone’, ‘Ladybird’ or ‘Ladybug’) and Pitsi (‘Lace’) series. These are visually very similar, with circular cut-outs in sheet silver or less commonly gold, forming a lacy, holey effect. She also used the lacy cut-outs in her Nuppu (‘Bud’) and Muurahaisenpolku (‘Ant trail’) series. Her love of the natural world is clear in her jewellery, and the inspiration it provided her with can be seen in the names she chose for her various series.

Liisa Vitali.

During her life, Vitali’s work was highly thought-of, and was exported around the world. Apparently Princess Margaret was a fan. Following her death and changing fashions, it fell out of vogue for a while. In 2009 Kultakeskus Oy began to remanufacture Vitali’s designs, bringing them to a whole new audience.

Some named designs by Liisa Vitali:

Ampiaisenpesä (‘Beehive’)

Gardenia (‘Gardenia’)

Kesäheinä (‘Summer hay’)

Kevät (‘Spring’)

Kissantassujen (‘Cat’s paws’)

Leinikki (‘Buttercup’)

Lemmenkukka

Leppäkerttu, Leppäkerttu ja iso kivi (‘Ladybird’, ‘Ladybird and big stone’, ‘Ladybug’)

Muurahaisenpolku (‘Ant trail’)

Nuppu (‘Bud’ or ‘flowerbud’)

Nyöri (‘Cordon’)

Pitsi (‘Lace’)

Ruusu (‘Rose’)

Tuulenpesä (‘The wind’s nest’)

Villiviini (‘Wild wine’)

Further reading:

Leeni Tiirakari 2012, Design Liisa Vitali, Amanita. Available from a Finnish online bookseller.

Bobbly rings

I’ve long had a thing for granulation in silver jewellery, and I love orbs, balls, spheres, domes, bobbles and bubbles in all their forms. So it’s no surprise that I have a few bobbly rings in my Etsy shop right now:

NE From Danish sterling silver bypass bobble ring. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Modernist Finnish sterling silver bobble bypass ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

Swedish modernist ring, imported to London in 1970. This one has a little silver ball inside that tinkles around. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

1970 brutalist Finnish 930 silver ring by Valon Kulta & Hopea of Turku, Finland. Love the granulation on this! For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD.)

Bengt Hallberg (Sweden) sterling silver bypass ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

Modernist sterling silver ring in a Georg Jensen style. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

1960s sterling silver jester ring by Anna Greta Eker. Eker was Finnish but worked in Norway, and is regarded as one of the greats of Scandinavian/Nordic silver design.

NE From sterling silver ring. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery. Click on photo for details. (NOW SOLD).

1950s sterling silver ring by John Lauritzen of Copenhagen. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photos for details.

Here’s an earlier post with a few more granulated pieces I’ve since sold, plus an interesting video showing how the bobbles are made.

Scandinavian silver

UPDATE May 2017: For Scandinavian silver pieces currently in my Etsy shop, please click here.

I seem to be sourcing more and more pieces of 20th century Scandinavian silver jewellery for my shop. I started off with the idea of stocking early 20th century pieces – English Arts and Crafts, Germanic Jugendstil and Nordic Skønvirke jewellery, but gradually my eye was drawn towards the sleek, minimalist lines of mid century Scandinavian modernist jewellery as well. 

A selection of Scandinavian jewellery. Click on photo for details.

A few of the pieces of Scandinavian jewellery for sale in my Etsy shop. Click on photo to see my current selection of Scandinavian jewellery and silver objects. 

At the moment I have 40 pieces of Scandinavian silver for sale in my Etsy shop, and more to come that I haven’t got round to listing yet!

scandinavian 1

scandinavian 2

Scandinavian 3