1960s: the Story of Lapponia Jewelry begins
The story of Lapponia Jewelry begins with two courageous men – entrepreneur and visionary Pekka Anttila and gifted jewelry designer / artist Björn Weckström. Together these men pushed the boundaries of jewelry design in the 1960s gaining global attention.
Lapponia Jewelry was founded by silversmith Pekka Anttila (1931 – 1985) in 1960. During the early days the company manufactured very traditional jewelry, mainly bracelets and various chains. The Quality of the jewelry was excellent and the company steadily gained new customers . However, the competition in the jewelry business was fierce. Mr. Anttila soon realised the future was not in the traditional style gold jewelry and getting any exposure in the international markets would require more personal approach. He wanted to step away from the traditional designs and to create something new and authentic. He had been following the work of Björn Weckström since the days of the Finnish Glodsmith School and was inspired by his unique touch in design. The two started to work together in 1963.
In 1965 Lapponia Jewelry took part in their first international fair when Anttila convinced Weckström to participate in the International Jewelry Contest in Rio de Janeiro. Weckström’s golden necklace “Flowering wall” won the Grand Prix. With the distinguished design the company received international recognition and started exports in 1966. Gradually also the domestic market opened up for these bold and unique designs.
Lapponia Jewelry´s operations grew, and in 1971 Danish blacksmith and jewelry designer Poul Havgaard joined the company. Painter Juhani Linnovaara created his first white gold jewelry collection for Lapponia in 1972 and three years later sculptor Zoltan Popovits designed his first piece for Lapponia Jewelry - a silver chess set.
Björn Weckström was the first to combine silver and acrylic in jewelry designs. At first this combination was considered strange, but that soon changed when in 1975 John Lennon appeared in the Dick Cavett show with Yoko Ono who was wearing Weckström’s Petrified lake acrylic ring. TV camera was taking several close-up shots of the ring in Yoko Ono’s finger and soon everyone was interested in acrylic jewelry.
The Lapponia Jewelry story is full of surprises and lucky incidents. In 1977, one of the Lapponia Jewelry silver necklaces was worn by Princess Leia in the movie Star Wars. Planetoid valleys fast became the all-time most well-known piece in the Lapponia collection.
1980s and beyond
In 1989 French artist Christophe Burger joined Lapponia Jewelry. His first collection was made of patinated white gold. Designer Pekka Hirvonen began his work with Lapponia in 2002 with yellow gold collection. Master goldsmith Chao-Hsien Kuo began her work with Lapponia in 2006 combining feminine elements to the recognizable Lapponia forms. Mari Isopahkala started as a Lapponia designer in 2013 after winning the Next Episode jewelry design contest.
Lapponia Jewelry was acquired by Kalevala Jewelry from the Anttila family in 2005. In april 2013 the company was merged as a part of Kalevala Jewelry where Lapponia Jewelry remains as its own brand.
Inspired by the northern nature, the revolutionary Lapponia Jewelry products have brought joy to the world already for over 50 years.
Björn Weckström's 50th anniversary as a Lapponia designer in 2012 was celebrated by launching the Bones and Cones Gala necklaces.
Lapponia's 50th anniversary in 2010 was celebrated by a special exhibition held in the SnowCastle in Kemi - the world's largest snow castle.
Lapponia held the Next Episode jewelry design contest in 2009. The winner was Mari Isopahkala with her stunning design work "Drop".
Lapponia's selection of watches expanded in the early 2000s. In this picture: Secret Time by Björn Weckström.
A picture of Björn Weckström's Sun Cage necklace from a Japanese Lapponia brochure (1997).
Lapponia's brochure from 1996 featuring Christophe Burger's designs.
A 1992 Lapponia ad in the Swedish Elle magazine with Björn Weckström's gold jewelry.
Lapponia's brochure from the early '90s with "Timeless" watch and "Recovery" earrings by Poul Havgaard.
Lilia collection by Zoltan Popovits highlighted in a Lapponia ad in a Dutch magazine (1987).
Lapponia's ad in a German magazine in 1986. The ring is Nereia by Björn Weckström.
Lapponia Jewelry's stand at the Basel fair in 1983.
Planetoid valleys necklace worn by Princess Leia in the movie Star Wars (1977)
Petrified Lake acrylic ring was seen on Yoko Ono's finger in the 1975 Dick Cavett show.
Zoltan Popovits - Chess set (1975)
Lapponia's production and office facilities were located on Mäkelänkatu, Helsinki, from the beginning of the 70s to 2005.
A picture of a necklace from a Lapponia product catalogue in the 1960s.
A sculpture-like bracelet "Ode to Henry Moore" from the 1960s.
Lapponia production facilities in the 1960s.
Björn Wecktröm in his studio in the Lapponia Jewelry premises in the 1960s.
Björn Weckström - Flowering wall
Ambassador V.P.Gatti presenting Björn Weckström the Rio de Janeiro design competition prizes in 1965. Pekka Anttila in the middle.