Gwyneth is queen bee of the fan club. J.Lo joined on her 52nd birthday. Savannah Guthrie, Ana de Armas, Cynthia Erivo, Olivia Wilde, and Kelly Ripa are also members. The true secret, though, to the enduring cult appeal of FoundRae's chain necklaces and talismanic pendants may be in what lies beneath the glow of celebrity fandom and 18k gold. In other words, to borrow a phrase, it's a vibe.
And one that can't exactly be conveyed via ecommerce. Anyone who has paid a visit to the flagship, an exquisite two-story cabinet of curiosities, in downtown Manhattan understands. Crafting a unique FoundRae heirloom—its signature medallions and charms are designed to represent one of the brand's core tenets, like resilience, strength, karma, or love—is meant to be a deeply personal and spiritual exercise, and best done IRL. "My whole point of FoundRae is to provide tools of self-discovery and self-expression through fine jewelry," founder Beth Bugdaycay tells T&C. "We want people to be able to understand the symbolism to create their own pieces and our own stores help us give the best experience."
Five years after opening her first shop, Bugdaycay is expanding FoundRae's footprint. This week, the label makes its splashy debut in Dallas. The jewel box of a space will take up residence at the Conservatory, the sprawling Highland Park Village retail emporium founded by Brian Bolke. "To me, FoundRae not only represents craft, but also an emotional connection to something beautiful and personal," Bolke says. "In a world of 'stuff,' it's the real deal."
For Bugdaycay, this is also something of a homecoming: she is a native Texan, born and raised in Brownsville. Plus, it's a great time to be in Dallas these days—did we not recently christen it the new Miami?—with its vibrant swirl of swanky new hotels, luxury brand openings, and impossible-to-get-into restaurants. While the city's well-heeled grande dames and millennial East Coast transplants alike will most certainly be flocking to FoundRae for new gems to add to their clip chain chokers, the space is meant to do more than simply hawk status symbols.
"It's more than a store for us," Bugdaycay says. "It's a community space where we get to meet incredible people. The intention behind FoundRae, the idea of really unfolding into the person you're supposed to be, ends up attracting a certain client that I just want to be around."
As iconic as her modern heirlooms have become, for Bugdaycay it's this mission—to forge connections, to discover an authenticity of self, to be inspired by others—that has always come first. Jewelry just happened to be the right method of communication. So FoundRae was born, in 2015, bringing about a renewed interest in the idea of personal talismans long before the pandemic turned them into a soaring asset class.
"I feel like there are so many important conversations to be had in this life, and sometimes we just need prompts. The story of jewelry—what it means to you, where you wore it, why you chose that symbolism—is so much more important than the weight of the gold," she says. "When we think of heirlooms, what we're really passing down are the life lessons. Our pieces serve as prompts for people to reflect on themselves, and also talk about it. They allow us to have more meaningful dialogue."
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