Beth Bugdaycay has been obsessing over chains ever since she launched Foundrae – the cult brand beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily Ratajkowski and Dua Lipa – back in 2016.
Foundrae may be best known for its medallions, an entire universe of talismanic charms which Bugdaycay describes “as symbols of self-discovery and self-expression” – but her handmade chains, which she is constantly revisiting and refining, are equally genius.
I first met Beth at the Couture Show, the leading showcase for independent designers, in Las Vegas that year and was impressed even then with the quality and thoughtful designs of her chains. As well as offering everything from light and breezy elongated, open designs to emboldened statement belchers and others that mix in colourful beads of lapis lazuli and malachite, Foundrae also supplies openable links for easy attachment and detachment of charms, plus clasps that are strong enough to hold medallions of their own and can be worn front and centre as a feature in their own right. In short, Foundrae chains offer a thousand different ways to wear and layer necklaces and bracelets, and tell your own story.
British Vogue asked Bugdaycay to share her top tips for wearing and layering chains. Keep reading to discover their endless possibilities, and how you can mix colours and metals, add in old favourites, and even share them with your other half.
Versatility and functionality
“Purchasing a high-quality, handmade chain is a serious investment, which is why we work hard to provide as much versatility and functionality within a single chain as possible. It’s important to have flexibility in whatever you buy so your jewellery can evolve with you, and also allow you to be nimble on a day-to-day basis. We have chains that include concealed links along their length so they can either be worn as a continuous chain or as a lariat necklace. You can wear it as a plain chain or add single or multiple medallions. If you are going to make a significant investment in a piece, I think that it makes sense to be able to wear it every day.”
“Layering is quite personal. Always start with the first piece you want to wear and build from there. To keep things simple, think in terms of three: three different lengths, three different links, three different weights. What’s really interesting is how much variation there can be between them. A super fine cable chain gives you very different look to a chunky curb or slinky snake chain, but they can all work together.”
Tell your story
“The great thing about chains is that you can add whatever you wish. We have clients who return to us for a new medallion whenever they are celebrating a special occasion, whether it’s a birthday or a new job. You can add existing charms that hold special emotional significance, be it your grandmother’s pendant or your children’s initials. Your local jeweller can add them for you if needed, and we also offer openable links so you can add and remove them whenever you like. The trick is to make your chain unique to you, so it becomes a talisman that you can wear every day.”
Mix metals and materials
“Yellow gold is all the rage right now but you can mix in blackened, rose or white gold and silver too – either in the same necklace or in your layers. We also have chains that feature hard stones like malachite and onyx, which are great for adding colour and contrast to your look. You can get the same effect by mixing in beaded or pearl necklaces – just make sure they don’t risk being scratched by your chain.”
Wrap it up
“Longer chains are more expensive, so I like to maximise their wearability by designing them so they can be worn short as well as by wrapping around the neck. The clasp is important too. Our sister hooks can be worn as a feature or tucked discreetly in the back, they also allow you to add a medallion or just let the distinctive links shine on their own.”
His and Hers
“I love a chain that works equally well on men and women. I’ve been able to stretch my jewellery box to include my husband’s by wearing his chains, such as his black onyx element chain, when he’s not wearing them. I love the sentimentality of sharing jewellery. It becomes a piece that represents us both.”
Written by Rachel Garrahan.
This originally appeared on British Vogue.