Laura Saarivuori-Eskola makes jewellery out of old silver cutlery and Finnish coins. Environmental issues and recycling have been close to Laura’s heart since she was a child and therefore, entrepreneurship in the field of jewellery pondered her some time. Then she realised that through her work she could bring up the crucial problems of mining.
– The materials for jewellery, silver and gold, don’t just appear. Someone somewhere first mines the material and then makes jewellery out of it. Whether it’s Finland, India or China – jewellery is always made by hand. That’s what people should understand.
Laura Saarivuori-Eskola, the founder of EKORU Laurase, has always wanted to raise awareness with the ecological and ethical problems that consider the mining of precious metals and jewels. Not only mining pollutes the environment, and people work in dangerous circumstances but also silver is very cheap and, therefore, people don’t want to pay for ethically and ecologically mined silver. The topic isn’t an easy one.
– Mining is just so, so far from an average person’s life. The origin of jewellery is, unfortunately, on the bottom of peoples’ interest.
In 2000, North-Karelian Laura moved to study near Tampere as a metal artisan. Around that time, too, Finland’s currency changed from Finnish markka to euros and Laura wondered what could be done with all that amount of metal, which soon would become useless. She collected a few coins, perhaps a pair of earrings could be made out of them. After graduation, in 2003, she did glassworks and worked in a hydraulics factory, but the idea of entrepreneurship began to attract her as she had several ideas for jewellery.
The good side of silver and gold is that the materials can always be melted and reused. There were other issues Laura battled with. Only a few enjoy the enormous amount of money, which moves in the jewellery business. The mining happens in already poor countries where environmental requirements don’t either exist or are very loose, and people work with dangerous chemicals.
– No one is watching there over decent working conditions. Safe, non-toxic working-conditions and a decent salary, for instance, are bundled in the Finnish prices.
Laura’s solution was to bring her values of recycling into her business. In addition to old coins, she found beauty and opportunities for a second round in old Finnish prizes, such as spoons, and cutlery. They were pieces of art, detailed with unique carvings and gorgeous shapes, which turned in Laura’s hands into one-of-a-kind rings, necklaces, cufflinks and tie clips. Soon she had several customers who brought their heritage silver for Laura to update. All the personal stories and memories got a new life in another form.
Ekoru by Laurase was founded in 2006, and a full-time entrepreneur Laura became in 2009. According to her, it has always been crucial for the customers’ to see the person behind the beautiful pieces.
– A jewel always awakes emotions, it’s an intimate matter, and often the sentimental value is far bigger than the actual financial value. The stories of my customers are also essential for me to hear, Laura reminds.
Nowadays, the customers are also more and more interested in the ethicality of the jewellery, they ask about the materials Laura uses and appreciate domestic, transparent production. Which brings the discussion back to Laura’s biggest concern on what people should understand while purchasing jewellery – someone has always made them by hand.