In medieval times, the word ristiretki (a crusade in Finnish) was used to refer to religious military excursions. But today, your own ristiretki can be any daring leap into the unknown.

Through our jewelry laden with ancient symbols, ristiretket.fi offers you a voyage back in time.

We use authentic elk bone as our raw material. The thousands of miles driven in search of this natural resource is but a small sacrifice, as any less precious material would not suit the hallowed themes of the jewelry. In a similar fashion, the hunters of ancient times used to travel far and wide in hunt of the elk. Along with the deer, the elk was essential as quarry and therefore a recurring theme in primitive art.

Primitive jewelry

 
Piessa the Devil, Death and Rebirth, Ancient Swan, White Sea Boat, Otter, Big Deer, Three Skiers, Ancient Labyrinth

 

Crafted from elk bone, primitive jewelry replicates sceneries from rock paintings. In fact, they tell stories of our early ancestors’ everyday lives and beliefs, tales of life and death.

The Zalavruga jewels are a visual representation of the petroglyphs of Belomorsk in Dvina Karelia, Russia. A masterpiece of Neolithic art, the petroglyphs were carved on the sea shore some 4,000 years ago and rediscovered on the banks of the Vyg River in 1936, when over two hundred rock carvings were uncovered on an area of 60 square kilometers.

The Onega jewels replicate the rock paintings of Besov Nos, located on the eastern shore of Lake Onega in Russian Karelia.  The animals portrayed in the rock paintings were believed to give counsel to the deceased on their way to heaven or the underworld.

Ritual jewelry

 

Place of Sacrifice, Pearl of Sacrifice, Vertebra of Sacrifice, White Deer, Fish God, Vision in a dream

Among the themes of ritual jewelry are the shamanistic figures of worship, the animal deities, and the seita, Sami places of worship. For the ancient hunter-gatherers and fishers of the North, these were special spots marked with rocks or wooden statues to signal the whereabouts of rich hunting grounds or fishing waters. Ritual sacrifice was used as a means to ensure that the bounty would be plentiful.

Ancient jewelry

 
Mary's Cross, Olaf's Cross, Eagle of Vesilahti

 

The most typical medieval symbol is the crucifix. However, only few surviving medieval crosses exist in Finland, one of which can be found in St. Mary’s Church in Sastamala. A portion of the original wall has been dislodged and relocated next to the preacher’s pulpit. The Marianristi (Mary’s cross) jewel is modeled on the wall painting.

St. Olaf’s cross with its knotted design is modeled on the seven-pointed cross on the back wall of the St. Olaf’s church in Tyrvää. St. Olaf’s cross with stone decorations. The “Swarovski” stones symbolize sacrificial blood receptacles.

The eagle of Vesilahti is a cast replica of a piece of jewelry discovered in the vicinity of the Laukko manor in the region of Häme in Finland. The original that this piece is based on portrayed a three-headed eagle and was representative of the Permian design tradition. It must have made its way to Häme from the faraway region of Perm in Russia. It had most probably been cast by a woman.