Future Family Heirlooms

Rarely do dinner conversations revolve around the quality of diamonds, the world market price of gold, or the availability of gemstones, but this is commonplace in the Tillander family. Representing the 6th generation of goldsmiths, Jenny Tillander lives and breathes gemstones. Gemmology could almost be said to have been ingrained in her from birth – both her mother and grandmother are gemmologists too.

On Kluuvikatu, in the heart of Helsinki, gemstones are examined with skilled hands. In the back room of the jewellery store bearing her grandfather's name, Jenny Tillander, a gemmologist, has the tools for even the most demanding gemstone analysis. Atelier Torbjörn Tillander's staff includes a total of five gemmologists, so it could be assumed that they know what they're talking about here. A gemmologist, or gemstone expert, has studied gemology and passed a rigorous final exam. As a gemmologist of the third generation, expensive gemstones are part of Jenny's everyday life; she skillfully handles a sapphire worth several thousand euros with tweezers and inspects it through a loupe. "Yes, just as I suspected. Here are inclusions that indicate the sapphire has been heat-treated."

Unique jewellery, unique service

When a customer comes to our store on Kluuvikatu, they often have an idea of the type of jewellery they're looking for. Nine out of ten pieces crafted here are unique, meaning one of a kind. Our customers know this, which is why the most experienced ones pre-book appointments with Jenny's mother, jewellery designer Tina Tillander. Tina enjoys designing jewellery for customers according to their preferences. "Understanding different materials and the characteristics of gemstones is an essential part of this work," says Tina. 

Ah, the characteristics of gemstones; let's ask Jenny to tell us more about them! "The cut is a very important characteristic for the appearance of a gemstone. A good and high-quality cut brings out the best features of the gemstone - a cut that is too deep or shallow can ruin an otherwise beautiful gemstone. A skilled cutter can also mask unwanted characteristics and highlight desired ones. In a well-cut stone, light passes through the stone in the right way, making the stone lively," Jenny explains.

A jewellery designer must understand the characteristics of gemstones to select a suitable gem for a specific piece of jewellery. For example, the stone in a ring must withstand wear and tear in a completely different way than a pendant. The durability of a gemstone is assessed on the Mohs scale of hardness, with diamonds being at the top, the hardest material in the world. Corundums, spinels, beryls, and garnets rank between 8 and 9 on the Mohs scale, making them durable gemstones. "Customers don't have to remember these, we'll advise them on selecting the right gemstone," Jenny points out.

Stringent standards

The gemstone market can roughly be divided into coloured gemstones and diamonds. The diamond industry is highly standardized - the price of a diamond is directly affected by the so-called "four Cs": carat weight, cut, colour, and clarity. Atelier Torbjörn Tillander's diamonds are typically F-G in colour and at least VVS in clarity (very very slightly included). The cut is usually Triple Excellent. In addition, all diamonds over 0.30 carats always come with a GIA authenticity certificate. Sometimes, if a special diamond is encountered, these requirements may be relaxed. "Last spring, my mother and I found a truly magnificent old-cut diamond at a jewellery fair. Although its clarity was much lower than our usual standards, we had to buy it," says Jenny. 

Conversations around sustainability have in recent years extended to the goldsmith industry, and an increasing number of customers inquire about synthetic or lab-grown diamonds. At the moment, all of Atelier Torbjörn Tillander's diamonds are natural diamonds, but the aim towards more sustainable practices is ongoing. "We are part of the international Copenhagen Commitment network, which aims to set a new standard for ethics and sustainability in the jewellery industry. We are committed to promoting responsible practices and supply chains in the goldsmith industry," says Jenny.

Quality stands the test of time

"We have customers who have been loyal customers since my father's time," Tina says, becoming a bit emotional. "Customer relationships that have developed over the years are something truly special. It's an honour to be part of the customer's important moments in life." When Tina is asked why she believes that customer relationships have lasted so long, she doesn't hesitate for a moment: "Customer service. It's close to our hearts. We greet every customer warmly, without rushing. Jenny and I also make sure that we always have something special to show our customers. Because our jewellery is craftsmanship at its highest, the materials must also be top-notch."

What advice would Jenny give to someone dreaming of their first piece of fine jewellery? "Invest in quality. A high-quality piece of jewellery withstands wear and, when properly cared for, lasts from generation to generation. When you invest in quality, you need less." Jenny concludes.

Would you like to hear more about jewellery, gemstones, and diamonds? Welcome to Kluuvikatu, we're happy to tell you more! You'll find us opposite Hotel Kämp, right in the heart of Helsinki.