Sisu, A Grim, Gritty, White-Knuckle Form of Courage
jewelry for a milestone birthday
Sisu is a Finnish concept and cultural construct that is described through a combination of various English terms including stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness, and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. It is generally considered not to have a literal equivalent in English. Sisu is a grim, gritty, white-knuckle form of courage that is typically presented in situations where success is against the odds. It expresses itself in taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity, in other words, deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision even despite repeated failures. It is in some ways similar to equanimity, with the addition of a grim kind of stress management.*
This piece was custom made by a customer we’ve worked with several times, for his wife. She has strong Finnish roots, and always loved the concept behind the word sisu. Her 40th birthday was approaching, and she was facing it with trepidation. After a lot of thought, her husband came up with the perfect gift.
His wife’s grandmother was 100% Finnish. She passed away when his wife was 13. They named their daughter after this beloved grandmother. To get her handwriting he had his mother-in-law send old handwritten recipe cards. He pulled out the "s", "i" and "u" from the recipes and created sisu in his wife’s grandma’s handwriting. We then created the necklace, preserving the message saturated with meaning, on a simple and timeless bar pendant.
After giving the necklace to his wife on her 40th birthday, he wrote us to say "She LOVED the sisu necklace!!! It was the most emotional reaction to a gift she's ever had, and she's wearing it to work today... she was very impressed with your work + my idea, so we did good!!! She unwrapped the box and saw your logo, and said, before opening it, "Oh I recognize this!"... 3 necklaces so far with you and all have been huge hits, getting better each time!!!"
The thought and love that went into this future heirloom is heartening. I cannot wait to work with this wonderfully thoughtful and creative husband again. But honestly, I’m not sure how we can top ourselves!
*Sisu definition from wikipedia