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Calgary Oscar nominees will walk the red carpet donning locally-crafted jewellery

Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis will be wearing E.V. Stenroos custom fine jewellery

Ellinor V. Stenroos

Ellinor V. Stenroos wearing one of the pieces of jewellery she lent to Oscar nominees Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis. // Svetlana Yanova

“Who are you wearing?”

It’s probably the most common question asked on the red carpet of Hollywood’s biggest award show.

When Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis attend this weekend’s 95th Academy Awards, they will be adorned in locally-crafted jewellery.

The Calgary-based animators’ latest short, The Flying Sailor, is nominated for Best Animated Short Film. Calgary Citizen previously wrote about the film here.

This isn’t the first Oscar nom for Tilby and Forbis. They’ve been nominated twice before as a duo—in 2000 and 2012—and Tilby’s very first short film was nominated in 1992.

Many people will be cheering for the pair when the Oscars are handed out this weekend—perhaps no one more so than Ellinor V. Stenroos.

The Calgary jeweller had the honour of lending Tilby and Forbis a few custom pieces for the occasion.

A teenage dream

Showcasing her work on such a grand stage is something Stenroos could have only dreamed about when she started taking silversmith courses as a teenager in her native Finland.

Stenroos grew up loving the arts and enjoyed music, drawing, and painting. She was also interested in politics and initially started down a career path with the Parliament of Finland.

After about a year, Stenroos wasn’t satisfied with a career in politics and decided she would rather do something creative.

At the age of 21, Stenroos moved to England to attend Kent Institute of Art and Design and received a bachelor's degree in silversmithing, goldsmithing, and jewellery design.

Stenroos says she always wanted to move to Canada and got a job as a jewellery designer and goldsmith for a Calgary design studio upon completion of her degree in 2005.

When the business she was working for dissolved about five years later, Stenroos decided to start her own company, and E.V. Stenroos Custom Fine Jewellery was born.

The business has survived some tough times—including an economic downturn in 2015—and Stenroos is thankful to have supportive clients who helped her ride out the storm and continue doing what she loves.

Stenroos enjoys creating unique jewellery for her clients. // Submitted

Making magic

Stenroos takes a lot of pride in her work and is honoured to create unique pieces of jewellery.

“I get to just make a little bit of magic and a little bit of sparkle. And also knowing how happy and excited and grateful and in love the clients usually are,” she says.

“It feels incredibly rewarding. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s sparkly as well.”

It’s extra special for Stenroos to work with something precious and valuable since she grew up on a farm.

“We certainly didn’t have a lot of money. There were four kids, mum and dad were farmers… very different to the farming that exists in Canada,” she says.

Stenroos genuinely loves her job and feels fortunate that she gets to share her passion and provide people with greater insight into fine jewellery.

“That’s something that not everybody gets to experience. And I feel very, very thankful for the fact that I’ve always known that this is what I'm meant to do.”

The Oscar connection

E.V. Stenroos Custom Fine Jewellery has received numerous accolades in local and international publications such as Avenue Magazine, British Vogue, The Globe and Mail, and more.

Having her work appear on the Oscars red carpet this weekend is another big accomplishment.

Her connection to Tilby and Forbis goes back several years. One of Stenroos’ former roommates is family friends with the animation duo.

Stenroos doesn’t consider herself to be a close friend of the pair, but she has seen them at many parties over the years and has lived in the same neighbhourhood.

One day, Stenroos was talking about their Oscar nominations with her partner, David, when he suggested she ask them if they needed jewellery for the ceremony.

The idea seemed a little too bold for Stenroos at first, but she figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, so she reached out to their mutual friend.

A few days later, Stenroos received a message on Instagram from the duo’s stylist, who was interested in seeing some pieces.

Stenroos loves creating magic with sparkle. // Submitted

Creme de la creme

The stylist picked out a few options from Stenroos’ inventory and personal collection that would be best suited for Tilby and Forbis, including a white gold and black pearl necklace.

“Having seen the pictures, it looks wonderful and very much suitable to them and their style. They curated and they're layering a few things really nicely. They've sort of created their own take on the things that I was able to lend them,” Stenroos says.

Getting the opportunity to showcase her work at such a massive event with people she is proud to know is something Stenroos is very grateful for.

“I certainly love to see people I know and people who are local or hardworking do well. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to sort of bask in their success a little bit,” she says, adding the modest Finnish side of her wants to downplay it.

“At the same time, this is the creme de la creme of all representations. So it is super exciting. I don't even know that in my wildest dreams I would have thought that this would happen. And certainly, it is something that I hope will happen again.”

Stenroos would love to have the chance to create more extravagant pieces in the future and show Hollywood something never seen before.

“But this is a wonderful first start,” she adds.

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