The idea for Lugot Jewelry began long before the brand was officially launched. Founder Johanna Jacobson Backman egan making her own jewelry at a young age due to a nickel allergy. “I couldn’t go to the big shops, like H&M, and buy jewelry for myself,” she explains, “So I had to create it for myself! I think that really sparked a passion in me.”
She went on to study design, but realised quickly that jewelry design wasn’t seen as serious by her teachers and peers. “I focused on industrial and furniture design because there was this idea that you had to do something ‘real,’ and jewelry didn’t fit into that category. I kind of drifted away from jewelry,” Johanna says.
Johanna worked for a Mexican hotel group, a lighting company, and then began working for a shoe company. “While I was working with shoes, I started to look at the whole process from design to production, rather than just the design part. I think seeing that whole chain really made me reconsider what I wanted to do, and I knew deep down that I still loved making jewelry,” she says.
What is it about jewelry in particular that pulled Johanna? “I love that it’s something you keep close to you,” she explains, “and the idea of designing something that you carry with you at all times – something small but also precious – is really beautiful to me,” she says.
In 2018, Johanna took a vacation to Italy. Seeing that there was a lot of high-quality jewelry production happening in the country, she began exploring the options of producing something of her own. A year later, Lugot was born. The initial pieces were available in both sterling silver and 18K gold. Timeless and sophisticated, Lugot pieces are ideal for everyday wear, and can easily be paired or layered with your existing collection thanks to minimalist, organic shapes and delicate lines.
“The silver pieces were immediately really successful, but it was harder to sell the gold. Quality gold jewelry is expensive; it’s a big investment, so it’s a lot harder to sell online. So I started looking into gold plating rather than solid gold pieces. The key for me was to find high-quality gold plating; something that would last for a long time. That may make the pieces slightly more expensive than typical gold-plated jewelry, but it looks better and is more durable. The plating I’ve chosen will last for ten years, if it’s cared for properly.” Johanna says.
To that end, Johanna has some words of advice to help people best care for their gold-plated jewelry: “Only put it on once you’ve finished with your skincare and haircare. Hairspray is actually very bad for jewelry! It’s important to note, however, that gold (or any metal) is an organic surface, so it will react to the environment. I’d like to change the idea that metals should maintain a consistent surface over time; the look of time – that patina – can actually be very beautiful,” she notes.
A few months into her journey with Lugot, Johanna met Emma, who was working as a marketing director. “The connection was instant,” she says. “I asked her if she wanted to be my business partner almost immediately, and within 24 hours she had said yes.”
Emma brought marketing experience to the equation, something that Johanna knew would be an important element of Lugot’s growth. Johanna still designs all of the pieces; the marriage of design and market knowledge have proven invaluable to making Lugot an international success.
“I helped refine the message of what Lugot is trying to do, and that, in turn, made me love the business even more!” says Emma.
In addition to creating long-lasting pieces with an elegant and timeless look, Lugot is focused on responsible production. All items are made in a small family-owned factory in Italy, and currently, between 20 – 90 % of the metal they use is recycled material, depending on the piece.
“We are moving to a model where 100% of our metals will be recycled,” explains Johanna. “The quality of the metal is the same, so it just makes sense to us to do this.”
Lugot’s goals are simple: to produce jewelry that feels luxurious but is still accessible for the quality, to design pieces that feel special but lived-in to the wearer, and to run a business that is ethical. The jewelry industry isn’t perhaps known to be the most concerned with how their actions impact both people and the planet, but Lugot knows that as other industries – fashion and food – continue to move towards more conscious models, jewelry must do the same.
“Lugot is about taking joy in small things; we can only do that if we’re doing business the right way, you know?” says Johanna.
Shop Lugot jewelry.