Beth Bugdaycay of Foundrae Weaves Symbolism Through Everything She Designs

Come for the gorgeous jewels, stay for the enlightening self-discovery.

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Jewelry brand Foundrae is synonymous with covetable gold chains and talismanic medallions found on the wish lists of jewelry aficionados everywhere—and around the necks of stylish celebs and tastemakers. Sure, the pieces are beautiful, but it’s the underlying meaning of the emblems that holds emotional connection.

Co-founder and Creative Director Beth Bugdaycay infuses spirituality and intention into every icon she creates for the brand code, from animal motifs to classic signs like arrows and compasses. Inspired by ancient mythological symbols and vintage jewelry (the designer is an avid collector), the New York-based brand features new classics such as champlevé enamel cigar bands and diamond pendants that are meant to become “building blocks” to express one’s story.

Jewelry is at its most powerful when it serves as a reminder to live authentically and embrace our journey—past, present and future—and that sentiment is at the core of Foundrae’s ethos.

Beth Bugdaycay of Foundrae
Foundrae Co-founder and Creative Director Beth Bugdaycay.
Foundrae jewelry
Foundrae Wings Diamond Pavé Baby Signet Ring 18K Solid Gold, .16 CT Diamonds $2,495, CM Wings Wheel Medallion 18K Solid Gold $4,370, and the Large Passion Medallion 18K Solid Gold, .05ct Diamonds $4,400

Diamonds are often incorporated as accents in your pieces. Tell us how you used diamonds in the Wings Wheel Medallion that is featured in the campaign.

Beth Bugdaycay: That medallion is intended to inspire people to live life passionately [and] fully. We created a diamond pavé base that the wings are set on. We felt the diamonds helped to visually communicate the vibrancy of unfurling your wings and living your limitless potential.

Symbolism is a grounding anchor in your collection. Describe your process—when you begin, do you usually have a symbol in mind or do you start with a design first?

BB: I always start with the symbolism. I search out every scratch and line of symbolism that was left to us—in books, on ceramics, on the walls and tiles of buildings of import—and collect them together to look for the commonalities; to look for the symbols that transcend time and cultural boundaries; and that help to illuminate wisdom that has been passed down to us that could be hard to define with words. I want to illuminate this inheritance of symbols so we don’t have to live a thousand lifetimes to uncover the truth. Once I feel the symbolism is meaningful to share, then I imagine the right platform for it.

Foundrae Wings Wheel Medallion i

Foundrae Wings Wheel Medallion in 18kt gold with champlevé enamel and .431 carat diamonds. $5,995

What is your dream neck stack? Any layering tips?

BB: When it comes to layering, I really like the magic number of three. I prefer that all three chains are different links (not matching) so it feels more found and effortless, and I prefer that they are all different gauges (a heavier one, a medium weight and a lighter weight). It’s a personal choice of the wearer whether the heaviest option is something like our solid oversized mixed clip chain, or if it’s a medium weight mixed belcher chain that feels heavy when it’s worn with a thread chain. As long as there is a variation of weight within the three different options, then the overall effect feels balanced.

Do you have a favorite diamond memory that stands out in your mind?

BB: My parents bought me my first diamonds, a pair of tiny diamond solitaire earrings, as I was entering puberty. They gave me the gift of diamonds as a rite of passage with a note that said You are becoming a woman now.

Foundrae embraces core tenets such as resilience, wholeness and protection. Which is your favorite tenet?

BB: It’s wholeness. I think that you can consider that if all of the other tenets (strength, love, protection etc.) are actualized, then wholeness is achieved.

Why do you think your pieces resonate so well with jewelry lovers?

BB: Foundrae comes from the heart. We aren’t looking around thinking that we should do “our version” of something… the collection evolves naturally as we do.

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