Timo Sarpaneva – A rare “Hiiden Helmi” or “Devil’s Pearl” – Iittala, Finland 1956


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A rare free-blown glass Art-object, model 3157 with sodium bubbles, known as “Hiiden Helmi” or “Devil’s Pearl”. Designed by Timo Sarpaneva in 1951 and executed by Iittala glassworks, Finland, 1956.

Sarpaneva took his inspiration for these objects from the natural phenomena, known as “Hiiden Kirnu” or Giant Kettle. These are glacial potholes drilled in solid rock by water descending down a deep moulin or by gravel rotating in a bed of a subglacial meltwater stream.

The Devil’s Pearl was made in one size between 1952 and 1960. It is signed and dated in diamondpen underneath the base.



About Timo Sarpaneva

Timo Sarpaneva (Helsinki, Finland 1926 – Helsinki, Finland 2006) was an influential Finnish designer, sculptor, and educator best known in the art world for innovative work in glass.

While glass remained his most commonly addressed medium, he worked with metal, wood, textiles, and porcelain (china).

His work was among the key components that helped to launch Finland’s reputation as a trailblazer of design.

Recipient of many rewards, among others: The Luning prize (1956), Grand Prix Triennale di Milan (1954, 1957) and Gold medal, Concorso Internazionale della Ceramica d’Arte Contemporanea, Faenza (1976).


Marked and dated in diamondpen underneath the base: Timo Sarpaneva Iittala '56 (1956).


Iittala glassworks, Finland 1956


This object is in good condition, some scratches mostly underneath the base, consistent with age and use. Two sodium bubbles bursted. No cracks or chips.


Marianne Aav, IITTALA, 125 years of Finish glass, p. 223
Marianne Aav, Timo Sarpaneva – collection p. 40-42


Height 13,7 cm
Width 16,5 cm
Depth 17 cm
Weight 3407 grams

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