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Kupittaan Kulta Oy

Kupittaan Kulta Oy (Est. 1945) is a jewelry brand created by Elis Kauppi (1921-2004), one of the most important figures in Finish jewelry design. Kauppi’s vision of a new jewelry style inspired a generation of designers and launched Finland onto the international jewelry design scene.

In 1945, at age 24 and at the end of World War II, Kauppi founded his jewelry workshop, Kupittaan Kulta in Turku, Finland. Trained as a silversmith and engraver, Kauppi was part of a younger generation of designers and jewelry makers who changed the face of jewelry design. Kauppi was driven to innovate by both the difficult circumstances of war and a desire to push past the accepted standards of the era’s jewelry design. He was part of a young group of makers whose drive to innovate originated from the difficult circumstances of the war and the desire to break out of the usual standards of jewelry design of the time.

Kauppi started working with jewelry in 1936 and founded Kupittaan Kulta Oy with two friends after the war. Kupittaan Kulta Oy exported much of its production to Nordic and Central European countries as well as to the US and Japan.

Modern Finnish jewelry art made its breakthrough in 1958 when four major modern jewelry designers: Bertel Gardberg, Elis Kauppi, Börje Rajalin and Eero Rislakki held an exhibition of their work at ARTEK in Helsinki. Kauppi’s jewelry has been exhibited in several international exhibitions and museums: Formes Scandinaves, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris 1958-1959; The Modern Jewellery Exhibition, Golssmiths´ Hall, London 1961; Pforzheim Jewellery Museum 1967 and 1970; International Art Exhibition in Shibya, and in Tokyo in 1970, 1973 and 1976.

Kauppi was one of the first to use local stones such as granite and spectrolite that were elevated in status and incorporated into unique designs in fresh, innovative ways. The results attracted international attention.

Kauppi, representing Finland, began exhibiting internationally, and winning prestigious prizes. Consequently, demand for Finnish jewelry increased dramatically worldwide.

Finnish jewelry ingenuity was greatly tested during World War II and it was reported that even when glass beads and stones were hard to obtain, the Kupittaan Kulta workshop melted down colored pin heads to provide jewelry accents and used Finnish granite as an upgrade to precious stones. Attention to simplicity and form was then more important than ever.

A true modernist, Kauppi’s designs emphasized abstraction and rejected the popular pre-war naturalistic flower and leaf designs. With a strong focus on craftsmanship and integrity of design, his bold creations were strikingly relevant and remain so to this day.

Among his most inspired and famous creations is his Mountain Stream necklace which featured cascading bubbles of spectrolite and rock crystals and remains an example of his original craftsmanship.

Another type of jewelry in which Kauppi specialized was the ‘trapped’ or ‘caged’ bead series, where spherical balls of semi-precious gemstones are caught in shell-like, barred, pronged or other sort of cage, enabling them to move but not escape. This type of kinetic jewelry dates from the 1960s and 1970s.

Using a simple and classic design, one set of his cufflinks feature a square shape sterling silver face. The design is typical of Kupittaan Kulta’s clean simple lines, and features the company's hallmark characteristics of floating form. These cufflinks were stamped with an anvil, and marked, ‘Finland and Sterling’ that were the hallmarks used for Kupittaan Kulta Oy jewelry between 1945 and 1997. The dimensions are 3/4inch square; with a total weight of 16.4 grams.

Another notable creation was a vintage modernist sterling silver pendant with a sleek and simple design using a long bale and green art glass cabochon. It measures about 1 1/2" long and 3/4" across. It was marked with the Anvil, Finland, and 925S and is considered a great example of Scandinavian modernist jewelry.

The Kupittaan Kulta maker’s mark is an anvil and can be seen in Kauppi’s cat pendant, the dangle ring, the chrysoprase ring and a ring with the ball-filled “cup.” The brand is also known for making gold jewelry.

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