Atelier Torbjörn Tillander’s shop is somewhat discretely placed on Kluuvikatu in the heart of Helsinki. Old customers come through the door like they do into their own home, while others pass by to glance at the beautifully decorated windows.
Do I dare to step inside?
– Well of course you do, says designer and business owner Tina Tillander cheerfully.
– In order to come to us, you certainly don’t have to know what you are looking for. Here you are warmly welcome to just step inside to get to know us and ask us about what we do. You certainly do not have to be a millionaire to get a genuine piece of jewellery.
Oh yes, the prices. The prices for a unique ring, custom made by Atelier Torbjörn Tillander, start from approximately one thousand euro. However, you will find gorgeous pendants in different shapes and forms for a few hundred in our lovely shop on Kluuvikatu.
In case you didn’t know, the price has an explanation. You see, all the products you find here are handmade from start to finish by a set of five elite goldsmiths in Atelier Torbjörn Tillander’s workshop just a block away from the shop. These goldsmiths are true masters of the trade, which is why they only work with top of the range stones and metals.
How does the manufacturing of a unique piece begin and what does the process look like?
– We have a habit of beginning with finding out what our customer wants and needs, Tina Tillander explains.
– This year we renovated our shop and opened an extension which we call our “living room”. This, is a comfortable space where we can have a friendly chat and a cup of coffee while looking at stones or designs - whatever our clients feel like doing. We are surprisingly good at helping to find the perfect surprise for a wife or a girlfriend, Tina adds friendly.
– When you decide to come to us, it is a good idea to bring a photo of the person who is going to wear the jewellery. A skilled eye can read a lot about the person’s style, only by seeing a photo, Tina continues.
That’s right, at Atelier Torbjörn Tillander we offer support and guidance to all our clients who need help in making the right decision.
– Many of our clients know their style, and what they are looking for. However, some of our clients wish that our services include professional advice and style consultation, or that we at least confirm if their style and choices work for them, Tina tells us.
Knowledge about jewellery and the materials they are made of often come in handy. A knowledgeable and experienced sales person makes sure that you know exactly what you are buying and in that way, you won’t be disappointed at the product in the end.
– It is a wide-spread misconception that gemstones are unbreakable or at least shatterproof.
– Many gemstones are in fact very fragile. If my client tells me she wants a ring with an Emerald and I find out through discussions with her, that the ring is going to be in daily use, then my job is to prevent this mistake. An Emerald is a fragile stone and when worn in a ring it will be subjected to much more wear and tear than it would in a necklace for example, Tina adds.
Tina Tillander is frank, friendly and genuinely positive. She lives in a large wooden house with its own stables in the countryside. She is also the owner of a large German shepherd, which is why she enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle and hence she has a personal demand for durable jewellery. So, what is her advice on how to wear your jewellery safely?
– Always take off your jewellery when doing things like sports or digging in the garden. If you are not careful, you can actually ruin your jewellery permanently. Even so badly, they cannot be repaired.
And, what is your advice on functional style?
– Be true to what you like and follow trends only if you enjoy it. Choose jewellery that match your personality and highlight your best features. A pair of perfectly suitable earrings, for example, makes the skin glow and eyes shine.
When an order is placed it is taken to the work shop and most often personally by Tina Tillander herself. She is the one with a vision, which forms the basis for the unique jewellery, but a finished piece requires the skill of an excellent goldsmith as well.
It is fascinating to follow the discussion Tina and the goldsmiths Rauno Tynkkynen and Janne Ehrukainen are having as Tina brings in a new order. The jargon includes many specific terms like edge, frame and setting. A layman will only understand that the finished result requires the mastering of many details.
– The look is naturally a big thing. But what may seem pretty on paper has to work as a three-dimensional item, Rauno Tynkkynen explains.
– Making the vision into reality is not an easy thing. It requires a lot of artistic talent from the goldsmith as well; only that way the finished piece is a perfect execution of the original vision. Finally, one must consider things like an ergonomic fit, so that the piece of jewellery will be comfortable to wear.
At Atelier Torbjörn Tillander the work of a goldsmith is never about plain routine.
– Each week we work on new ways to manufacture our pieces, and for that to be possible, we also work on developing new tools that will help us make our unique pieces, Rauno Tynkkynen tells us and continues by saying:
– The variety and demand for high skill is really what makes our work so special. It is also a true inspiration to be able to pay high respect to traditional methods for handicraft, without sparing time or effort. We have a decision in principle, never to cast any part of our jewellery in pre-made casts but to instead form all shapes by forging, rolling and filing. Metals that are worked properly like this are much more durable than casted metal, so the time and effort really pays off as we get a high-quality product this way.
Were you inspired by this article? Do you want to surprise someone special this Christmas? When you place an order in November, you will still get your unique piece for Christmas. In our shop we also display a wide range of products that can be purchased straight away.