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Antiqüa jewels or the triumph of a sustainable model

Con apenas un año de vida esta firma española ha logrado aunar diseño y tradición artesana gracias a un modelo de negocio respetuoso con el medio ambiente. Además de bonitas, sus piezas, elaboradas con materiales preciosos, tienen un precio muy asequible

Por Sara HernandoLas joyas de Antiqüa o el triunfo de un modelo sostenible Las joyas de Antiqüa o el triunfo de un modelo sostenible

Launching a pandemic brand may seem crazy.But the world is full of brave, and Itziar Aguilera and María Monge did not tremble their pulse and just a few months ago, at the end of 2020, their project showed the world, Antiqüa, a jewelry firm different from the others.“We have known how to squeeze a very difficult time, locked at home, and get the best of us and the most creative part of each one.We are very aware of the luck we have for having found ourselves at that time, in which we both had enough time to launch a project.Perhaps, if the pandemic had not occurred, this opportunity would not have emerged.In addition, with these projects you realize the number of people who support you and who participate, in one way or another, in which this goes well.We are infinitely grateful for it, ”explains Itziar Aguilera.

His personal stories, who intersect from childhood - “we met at school but we were never friends.We were in separate classes so we were companions and we agreed from time to time ” -, they are the first germ of this jewelry firm, whose designs move away from traditional jewelry but retaining the quality of their materials and the good work of their artisans.“Handicraft is the essence of Antiqüa.From the initial sketch to the last polishing.We believe it is another way of adding value to a piece.To raise awareness about the materials that form each jewel, worked by hand and with the maximum care.Each of the people who is in the workshop feels antiqüa as if it were his, and I think that is transmitted in the result, ”says Aguilera.Your business model, in which you can only buy on request - "we are aware that, sometimes, this slows sales because we are accustomed to immediate consumption" -, it places them on the path of sustainability, without whichThey do not understand the jewel industry: “It is undoubtedly another of the brand's pillars.The gold we use is refined (reused) but, our idea when the demand is greater, is to use Fairmined gold (gold from artisanal mining organizations) ”.

We talked with Itziar Aguilera, an influencer in addition to the founder of Antiqüa, about the difficulties of being born in pandemia and the need to boost a slower fashion, also in jewelry.

You launched the firm in the late 2020, in full pandemic, how did the idea of the project come about?

The idea had been taking place for a long time but, it was not until pandemia, when it began to take shape.Maria and I had designed a jewel for my wedding and, we liked it so much, that we were clear that something else had to be done in this line.And that's how we went from a jewel to a jewelry brand.We wanted to create different pieces, something we missed in the most traditional jewelers.

How did you meet and why did you decide to start this adventure?

Personal history is what makes this sense.We met at school but we were never friends.We were in separate classes so we were companions and we agreed from time to time.However, on a trip to Italy with the school, almost ending it, we agreed on an excursion to Siena and we take phenomenal.I remember how we engulf chuches in the piazza del field, in Siena.Years later, María launched her first jewelery brand and I was studying the race, I offered to help you with the image, social networks etc..Later, when I began to dedicate to Instagram professionally, I took out their jewels on my social networks to give visibility and lend a hand in this aspect.In 2018, Maria decided to study a master's degree of jewelry and, at that time, she proposed to design a piece together for my wedding day.He wanted to associate his jewelry to an artisanal and delicate process, we shared the values and the desire to boost crafts, so the tandem was perfect.We enjoy the creative and manufacturing process so much that we were clear that there would be more projects together.

What are those values?

We are both passionate about the world of jewelry and we have different styles that converge perfectly.We threw high jewelry pieces with a personal and love touch, the one who now soaks our jewels.We both have a rhythm of a lot of work and speed, but with confinement we had no choice but to stop, and that was when we had time to develop this shared dream that is now antiqüa.

What had been your trajectories before founding this jewelry firm?

Las joyas de Antiqüa o el triunfo de un modelo sostenible

This question is closely associated with the previous one because, in reality, we have followed each other very closely even if each one with its path.I worked at a communication agency for a few years and, when Instagram began to take weight and form, I decided to give myself a chance and work on my own.From that moment, I am 100% focused on the creation of content for different brands.I really like my job and I enjoy because, luckily, I can work with brands that are very related to me and it is a great opportunity to be, sometimes, the image of these brands in social networks.Maria, on the contrary, works in human resources but, in parallel, she has been launching different projects, always linked to the world of jewelry.He started with a jewelery brand, when he was 20 years old and, as he commented, he launched his own jewelry brand in 2018.Both trajectories were the perfect mix for this to work.A very creative head and many ideas to generate content and create jewels, and another that helps us keep our feet on the ground, develop our brand and all management with our artisans in the most professional way.

What is the philosophy behind Antiqüa?

To recover the value of jewelry, of artisanal production and loaded with love.We want our jewels to freeze important moments and allow us to always transport ourselves to that memory.For us it is like painting a picture or creating a sculpture, each jewel has a lot of emotional load, and we create it from scratch.We want to flee the great productions and impersonal jewels.

How would you define the aesthetics of your jewels?

Our jewels breathe the aesthetics of past times, we find a lot of inspiration in the Art Deco and the Egyptian jewelry.We are inspired by historical and fictitious characters, love stories, friendship, family...But they also have that current point and that is the fusion that makes our jewels differentiate.

What differentiates them from the rest?

We could say that our form of production and brand philosophy.We dedicate a lot of time to each design, search for inspiration, creation, sketches on paper...For us that time and that dedication is what makes the jewel a differentiating weight and value of the rest.

Where does the name of the firm come from?

Undoubtedly one of the most important and difficult parts when a project is born is to baptize it.We were looking for words in different languages until we found antiqüa, which in Latin refers to something ancient, to differentiate it we add the three dots to emphasize the strength of the U when pronouncing it.We feel very identified with this word, something that endures over the years, and that even the passage of time is what embellishes it, like a jewel.

How is the creative process?

As our way of working does not demand times, but respects the processes of handling crafts, when creating our times also respect.We give importance to the design of each jewel and that is what we want to convey, there are jewels with which we are working for months, and others that arise at the time.We meet very often, and when we decide that it is time to incorporate new pieces, or we miss some design that has occurred to us, we sit with coffee, notebooks and pencils, and we give it together together.The team we do is beautiful, I really like the creative process because Maria has a lot of knowledge about the most technical part of jewelry, and seeing how ideas shapes is very inspiring.

Where do you find inspiration?

The three pillars of our inspiration to create are nature, art (especially cinema) and travel.We also have a lot of the women of our life, our mothers, grandmothers and au.

In Antiqua you have a production system that is always on request, why?

We decided to do so from the beginning to avoid overproduction and manufacture only when necessary.In this way, each jewel has a name and surname, and that delicacy is impregnated in each piece we do.We are aware that, sometimes, this slows sales because we are accustomed to immediate consumption.We have become very impatient people for everything, and also for this.That is why we want to stop the rhythm, give things the value they have and produce the jewels in the time necessary to be perfect.For a more sustainable future this sales format and times is to which we should get used to.

Can you also order any special design that is not in your catalog?

It is something that ask us very often.The reality is that we have our jobs, and antiqüa, although it is a dream, it occupies a lot of time of our free time, and all the dedication is destined to create our designs and manage the whole brand.Create custom designs at this time requires time and dedication that we do not have.But in the future who knows, passion for jewelry we don't lack.

Why did you decide that all production would be done in Spain?

We were very clear that we wanted to be close to the entire production process, and make sure that we were doing as we expected and, for now, the only way to do it is in Spain.Maria already knew the people who work with us today.They all carry in the world of jewelry over forty years ... a lifetime!This also allows us to support and conserve this type of trades and the most traditional work methods.In fact, it is they who sometimes scold us for wanting to go faster from the account and mark their times.

What weight does sustainability have in your signature?

It is undoubtedly another of the brand's pillars.As we said before, we produce on request.We are aware that the costs can be higher than if we produce in mass, but we are willing to obtain a minor margin in order to maintain this point.For now, the gold we use is refined (reused) but, our idea when the demand is greater, is to use Fairmined gold (gold from artisanal mining organizations).We are in the process of obtaining the license but it takes time and, above all, we need more business volume.As soon as we can include it, we will do it without a doubt.

What kind of materials do you work with?

We only work with precious metals and precious and semi -precious stones.We want to maintain the highest quality and differentiate ourselves from brands that use another type of more ephemeral materials.Our premise is that antiqüa jewels are passed from generation to generation and, the only way to achieve that is with materials that do not deteriorate over time.On the contrary, they win value.A jewel is an investment, and we want to rescue this concept so precious that one day had so much value.

How do you select the precious stones?

We surround ourselves with very good people.We work with Spanish gemologists who guarantee the quality of all stones.We are not experts in this, much less, but we are very clear about what we like, with the colors, transparencies, shapes, and from there it is to let us help by the team.

Your jewels have prices that are around 400 euros, would you say it is a fair price?

Yes.In fact, the profit margin for each piece is much lower than usual in jewelry.I would say that this is one of the main challenges: to be able to transmit that the pieces are jewelry, no jewelry.That we are closer to traditional jewelry (in terms of quality) than any jewelry store.If you look like this, € 400 is almost a bargain, when you are buying gold and precious stones.I sincerely believe that people would be surprised if they knew how much it costs us to manufacture each piece.

Your sales channel is your website, have you thought about selling through other online platforms or physical stores?

Yes, y es uno de los proyectos pendientes de los próximos meses.Another challenges is to be able to transmit through a screen the quality and delicacy of each jewel.We are aware that it is an important investment and gives vertigo to make the purchase online.That is why we are going to have a showroom very soon in Madrid, in the store of a brand with which we feel super identified.In this way, people can go there to see the jewels, try them, and order the one you like best.

Who are your main clients?

We have a very wide target.It is clear that those who appreciate quality, detail, the different.Within that, I think Antiqüa is not age.We have 18 -year -old clients and 60.Of course, there is something common in all of them and whenever they buy a jewel, it is for some special reason.We have the immense luck of having a very close communication with them (thanks to social networks) and many times we are participants in the stories behind each purchase.That fills our hearts.

What are your future plans?

Our dream is to become our only project.Today, we are lucky to have our work.This makes us enjoy even more about the brand and every step we take.However, the effort is immense and we want.Of course, as we have learned, we will do it without hurry, enjoying every success and, above all, learning from this dream.

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