A foremost figure in modernist jewelry, Elis Kauppi’s vision of a new jewelry inspired a generation of makers and launched Finland onto the international jewelry design scene.
In 1945, at age 24, Kauppi founded his renowned jewelry workshop, Kupittaan Kulta, in Turku, Finland. Part of a younger generation of makers which would forever change the face of jewelry design, Kauppi was driven to innovate by both the difficult circumstances of war and a desire to push past accepted standards of jewelry design at the time.
He was one of the first to use local stones such as granite and spectrolite, which were elevated in status and incorporated into unique designs in fresh and innovative way. The exciting results attracted international attention. Kauppi, representing Finland, began exhibiting internationally, and winning prestigious prizes. Demand for Finnish jewelry worldwide increased dramatically.
Attention to simplicity and form was the order of the day. A true modernist, Kauppi’s designs emphasize abstraction, rejecting the popular forties naturalistic flower and leaf designs. With strong focus on craftsmanship and integrity of design, his bold creations remain strikingly relevant today.
Elis Kauppi; 1921-2004, born at Turku, Finland, has been one of the few pioneers in the Finnish modern jewellery. He started working with jewellery in 1936 and founded Kupittaan Kulta Oy with two friends after the war in 1945, leading the trend away from the popular mid-century floral patterns to the design of innovative and simpler modernist pieces.. Kupittaan Kulta Oy exported much of its production to Nordic and Central European countries, but also to USA and Japan. Modern Finnish jewellery art made its breakthrough in 1958, when four major modern jewellery designers: Bertel Gardberg, Elis Kauppi, Börje Rajalin and Eero Rislakki held an exhibition of their work at ARTEK in Helsinki. The jewellery of Kauppi 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, Tokyo 1970, 1973 and 1976.