Agneta Bugyte crafts fine jewellery from silver and 18 carat gold, using patination and etching techniques that echo the abrasions of millennial glaciers. Fine jewellery in black and gold emerges; matt black patinated etched silver, contrasting with gleaming highly polished 18 carat raw gold grains. Jewellery that is calm, subtle, refined, comfortable to wear, elegant and beautiful. We sat down with Agneta to find out more about her brand.
How did Agneta Bugyte begin?
The formation of my brand has grown out of who I am and how I have developed as a jeweller; and so the branding has grown out of my increasing personal development, perception and skills.
First it was a dream. Since I first discovered jewellery as an art form I just knew I wanted to create a jewellery brand within which I would be both designing and making jewellery. But to start making it was not as easy as it may sound; it took time to foster the vision, then train, and all the time working other jobs to finance the tools.
Jewellery is a very expensive speciality - before you can make something you need an equipped studio with many tools, and then a considerable investment in material and time.
I took everything step by step: creating, designing, making, investing, investing and endlessly investing. There are so many little things to take care of, and they take a long time - it's not just the product design and making, it's a lot more. It’s about creating a brand with values and beliefs; it’s about cohesiveness of the brand; it’s about distilling everything you have and pouring out only the best. It’s creating and believing in beauty that is distinctive, classic, modern, elegant, beautiful, nice to the touch, comfortable and also a whole deeper level that is hard to describe in words. Finally, the finished jewellery must be packaged in ways that also speak of this distillation of design, mind, ethics, creativity, skill and beauty. In the beginning I did everything on my own, now I have some help with photography, copywriting, website maintenance etc. However, I am still involved in all these things myself.
Have you always been interested in design?
I always knew I would be an artist even when I was little and didn’t really know what art was. The hardest thing was to find my art specialty, as I was interested in everything: painting, photography, calligraphy, interior design and more. That was until I found jewellery as an art form. I knew it was a perfect fit. I would be a jewellery artist, working with precious metals. I had found that exceptional thing that engrosses and fires me, that extraordinary something I had looked for all my life.
What have been the highest and lowest points on your journey so far?
I am very hard on myself, it's not easy for me to celebrate my success as I always believe that I can do better and be more. I achieved a lot, my work is in various press publications and books, I have worked with many reputable galleries and shops, my work has been shown at the very best and finest craft events. Reflecting on my lowest moments, in my quiet life there are lots of storms each and every day. There are moments of gratefulness and happiness and there are moments of feeling low and unfulfilled, not being the best version of myself, failing myself. I do work on myself a lot and try to stay positive but I do believe that without all those downfalls I wouldn’t be where I am today. With each little blip I learn, read widely, dig deeper, and take my improvement as part of the upward curve.
What are the morals you run your brand by?
Respect, honesty, excellence, highest quality, uniqueness, comfort.
Buy less, choose well: beauty lasts.
What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?
As forever, humanity, motion, emotion, and nature. They all inspire me with their wild beauty and raw grace. Landscapes of deep silences, rough textures, fragmented hoarse and soft sounds, these are the backdrop to my thinking, and become transmuted into the distinctive forms of my jewellery.
I have poured everything I have into my new collection, to my mind it is distilled pure perfection and grace.
How would you describe your customer base?
Women of wild grace and subtle beauty.
My customers appreciate comfort, quality and individuality. They pay special attention to the details and are true originals. The most important thing is quality and not the quantity. In fact most of my clients only have a couple of pieces of jewellery. My goal is to create that one special piece my customer will live with, and it will live with her. The beloved and cherished only one. Everybody has a different understanding of beauty, my customer values the things that are elegant, simple, earthy, classic, well made and lasting.
Do you ever struggle to stay inspired?
I don’t struggle to stay inspired, but I do struggle to design cohesive collections. Before one piece is finished, I have lots of new ideas on how to improve everything and make it better. I have more ideas than material and time to make them all into a reality. This is a very good thing, because only the best designs, only those perfected ones see daylight, the ones that pass the test of time and quality.
Is there anyone you would love to see wearing your designs?
The first women who pop into my head are Eva Green and Caroline Labouchere. They are such beautiful and inspiring women. Their beauty is natural, real, and distinctive. The beauty that grows and improves.
Do you have a mentor?
Life, books and people. I try to learn something new, to find the ways to improve on something every day - from books, from people. From looking and seeing, digging deeper to understand who those people are, what they need, how they feel. I cannot stay in one place to be happy. Progress makes me happy.
If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?
It would definitely be a necklace, I guess because they are my favourite pieces to make, and this is also the first thing I notice on women. To make one of my necklaces it may take 40 hours and I love making them. I can pour all the best I have into a necklace and it will be just right. The earring is just one little piece which has to be interesting, simple, but also elegant and bold, and as it must not be overloaded, it doesn’t offer much space for my creativity to flow. It would be very hard to decide which necklace because I really like all the necklaces from my new collection with black patina silver and gold grains. Maybe the newest, because it is such an excitement to see the end result, the realisation of what I have been working on and imaging for such a long time.
Is there another designer whose work you particularly admire?
There are lots of other designers whose work I admire, to name a few: Jacqueline Cullen, Sia Taylor, Todd Reed, Pat Flynn...
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Life is full of advice, every day we can learn something new, from extraordinary people and from books, but the hardest thing is not just to hear or read that advice but to take it and live with it. For me, I guess the two most important things to learn were:
Don’t be afraid of being different, be afraid of being the same as everybody else.
The second being:
Focus 5% of your time on the problem and 95% on the solution. It’s easier said than done!
What drew you to Wolf & Badger?
I believe it was the same values - quality, comfort in being your true self and love for the little things with a big, deep story behind each of them.
Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
My brand is an extension of me: it’s a better version of me, a perfected me. The best I have distilled and poured into my work. For me it's a possibility to connect with like-minded people, to understand their needs better, to hear more and to serve them better. To give more of what I can do best. To build more trust. To make my work finer, I want to design a collection of rings. I also am planning a men’s collection and a collection with diamonds. I would like my collections to be easier to buy and physically seen in more stores around the UK, Europe and the US.