TIRA Jewellery: The modern Finnish jewellery designers reviving hand-engraving
By Lena Hunter | Photos: TIRA Jewellery
The traditional artform of hand-engraved jewellery has become a rarity, as have skilled engraving teachers and goldsmith schools. But at TIRA Jewellery – a collaborative jewellery studio in Kuopio, Finland, founded by designer Minna Meskanen and master hand-engraver Kari Puustinen – the ancient craft is thriving.
“I met Kari in a goldsmith workshop where I was a trainee. There, I fell in love with the artistry of hand-engraving. It makes all your jewellery design desires possible,” recalls jewellery designer Minna Meskanen. Today, she and Puustinen collaborate directly at TIRA Jewellery – one of the few goldsmiths in Finland where bespoke, hand-engraved pieces can be designed, produced and finished under one roof.
Meskanen’s jewellery designs have an astonishingly precise sense of form, something that hand-engraving is uniquely able to capture. “Ideation and design work are my specialty,” says Meskanen. “We also combine disciplines like 3D-modelling with hand-engraving. That’s how our work is different from others’. By combining the traditional and the modern, we can bring any dream to life.”
A notorious sparkle
Puustinen’s skills are renowned in Finland, and TIRA Jewellery’s custom wedding and engagement rings are particularly sought-after. Hand-cut pieces have a notorious sparkle, and the high degree of detail is lively and romantic, with tiny, furled leaves of gold and nestling jewels that imitate nature.
“Many of our clients bring gold rings from their grandparents to be melted and newly formed – so it carries an emotional attachment,” says Meskanen. “All gold has a story. It can be forever recycled, so we’re very conscious of sourcing. With every new precious material that comes to us – from yellow, white and rose gold, to silver and gemstones – we ensure that it’s ethical and environmentally sustainable.”
Of all Meskanen’s beautifully realised rings, earrings and pendants, perhaps her proudest is the Sofia collection in aid of the beloved 100-year-old Mannerheim Children’s Protection Association (MLL). The delicate pendants for children and adults, inspired by young people’s artwork and the values of MLL, immortalise a personal, hand-engraved message or memory in gold, and have become favourite christening gifts.
“In Finland, every child and family has benefitted from the fundamental care work of MLL,” explains Meskanen. “It’s a cause very close to my heart, and it gives my work a different kind of meaning when I can help others charitably, as well as creating a beautiful keepsake that will be cherished for life.”
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