“Dream Through Jewellery“ – this is what Lithuanian designer Algis Abromaitis is inviting his wearers to do each time they put on one of his upcycled, one-of-a-kind adornments, which are lovingly handmade in London.
This concept could not be more fitting,since Abromaitis himself first started designing after having a troublesome recurring dream about a bracelet, which he took as a subconscious sign to start making his own jewellery.
Now, nearly a year on, his theatrical designs are gracing the pages of such publications as The Sunday Times and FAB magazine and being sold in a variety of high-end online boutiques. Taking inspiration from travel, mythology and literature, each upcycled piece is a one-of a-kind treasure trove of precious stones, rich raw silks, Swarovski crystals, carved bone skulls and coloured beads, that provide the wearer with “a little bit of history.“
This idea of mixing new and old may have inspired others before him, but Abromaitis’ Philological background has insured that his designs are successfully bringing the most interesting classical influences to a modern audience.
With interest in the brand growing steadily, this is one dream that Abromaitis surely won’t want to wake up from…
Describe Jolita Jewellery in nutshell:
How did the journey begin?
I had a recurring dream for over a week about jewellery and by the end I was so tired of it that I decided it must be a sign. The dream was just a static image of a bracelet, but it was just so intense that I felt compelled to make something. So a friend of mine took me to a shop to buy materials and it started from there! I attended a few classes but I’m mainly self taught. I was rubbish when I started but I stuck at it!
What are the main cultural references behind the jewellery?
The brand’s slogan if you will is ‘Urbi et Orbi’ which translates to ‘To the city and to the World’. I have two unfinished degrees in philology and have always loved language, history and mythology. I adore classical and Roman influences and I like using skulls too. I’m also really inspired by the ‘stream of consciousness’ theory so when I sit down I never know what im going to end up with! I can’t draw so it’s a it’s a lot of trial and error, I keep going back to each piece over 4 or 5 days until it’s finished.
I don’t really have one, I can visualize my pieces quite clearly and I have learnt to just trust my own intuition. I do develop ideas from what my customers want though– I have two main customer groups, one is fairly young and trendy, one is more mature and elegant, so I try to vary the pieces to cater for both groups.
Where do you source your materials ?
I go to markets, antique shops, car-boot sales and I buy from places such as India, China and Bali. The ethical considerations are very important too. For example I’m working with a distributor in Bali at the moment where their beads are carved my local master carvers and a lot of the company’s profit goes back into the local economy and community. I also buy broken jewellery and upcycle and reset stones. I love the idea of incorporating both new and old into my pieces.
Your favourite piece you have made?
It’s a new bangle called ‘Voodoo in London’, which in fact I have just left with a company to hopefully be shot for Harpers Bizarre, fingers crossed! It incorporates lots of silk, Kashmiri bells, skulls and swarovski crystals.
Where you selling?
I sell direct and through other outlets such as Independent Boutique and Boticca. In the last month or so ive started to attract lots of press interest and I’ve done some editorials including the Sunday Times. Its really important, but I think the most important thing is to have a great product because then it starts selling itself.
Designer to meet??
I love Mcqueen. His couture was so intricate, I love anything that has taken time and patience. I also obviously love his skull references! Marni is also interesting, It’s quirky and has a handicraft feel . Oh, also the Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia, I just like anything that is intricate.
I guess I love Mori jewellery from 16th century until Victorian times when they were using human hair to create bracelets and jewellery.
What do you do when you are not designing?
I like going to museums, that really works for me! I spend a whole day wandering around the Mayan and Aztec sections of the British Museum. I walk around until I get tired, and then the next morning I can make something through osmosis! I also love to read, Marquez is my favourite.
Your sister is also part of the company?
Yes, my sister Jolita is who the company is named after. I do the making and she takes care of the promotional side such as the blog, website and PR. I don’t get any of that social networking stuff so I leave that to her! Its an important part of the business though, for example I got a commission from a lady who found us from Facebook. But I hate reading any of the press or articles about myself so I try to stay clear of that side of it!
What is your favourite colour?
Black. I always wear it, even though my jewellery is quite the opposite. It’s strange, people have asked me to do monochrome jewellery but I just can’t do it!
What do you eat for breakfast?
Black Coffee with sugar! That’s all I have.
The place you love the most?
New York . Its just so eclectic and mixed up. You can see someone dressed head to toe in hermes next to a homeless person and I love that diversity. I would love to live there.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
I feel like everything is paying off now and I can start to relax and feel that I haven’t been doing everything in vain, so i’m just enjoying this moment.
Where does Jolita Jewellery go next ?
I can’t plan too far in advance! I just can’t do it! So I’m going to carry on making and doing what I enjoy. I love doing this. I could have finished my degrees, but this is much more me!
Stocked at: Independent Boutique