Unique. The only one of its kind. A bit like us, really. And who doesn’t think of themselves as ‘unique’? Of course, we may think we’re different from one another, but it’s hard to stand out from the crowd in this digital world of AI machine replication. Even the rarefied world of luxury isn’t immune to this dependence on machines to make something they may say is unique but really isn’t. And price alone is no indicator or guarantee of precious individuality.
No. To find a state of independence, you have to hunt high and low. After all, there’s a reason why the rare and precious is exactly that: rare and precious. Buunt Jewellery, whose philosophy is that unique and precious beauty in the world of fine jewellery and jeweled gifts can only ever be created by hand, produces both the rare and the precious. Its stunning jewellery and jeweled gifts, from pendants to jeweled shaving razors, are made by hand; the hands of expert and experienced crafters who, by the very nature of their work, can only ever create unique pieces.
Creative non-conformity… and art for art’s sake
Vitaliy Astakhov, founder of Buunt, certainly knows all about forging individuality through creativity. A life influenced by both his own creativity and the inspiration of others, too, and a determination to live an independent life; a life that certainly makes him stand out in any crowd!
Growing up in Soviet-era Ukraine, where individuality was actively discouraged and any expression of creativity could only be channeled in aid of the state, he was inspired to kick against the system; a system that now appears, in hindsight, to have been the very definition of ‘mass production’. And, of course, as history has proven again and again, the human need for individualism will always triumph over any attempts to herd us into an anonymous mass.
As a child, he lived with his grandfather, who inspired his striving for expression of the self. He was a famous Ukrainian artist who, though ostensibly working for the state, as all artists had to, also created his own individual art within the privacy of his own home – which was both illegal and dangerous, not to mention challenging, as the tools needed for these creative endeavours weren’t readily available for home use. And so, his creativity extended to even making his own power tools and turning lathes; again, all absolutely forbidden and dangerous if he were to be found out. But he was determined to express himself as he wanted; a lesson Vitaliy learned and continues to expand to this day.
A life led by creative independence
And just as his grandfather refused to allow his vital creative spark to be dulled by an autocratic authority that demanded everyone be the same, Vitaliy has followed his creative heart and independent mind. From a career in banking, which saw him start successful investment opportunities in many parts of the world, to his obsession with marrying sound investment acumen with a genius for beautiful creativity, Buunt is his answer for those looking to make both a beautiful ‘statement’ and a fireproof investment.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in his adoption of the traditional Japanese metalworking practice of ‘mokume-gane’, which involves laying and overlaying, by hand, various precious metals to produce a kind of sandwich-like laminate, known as a ‘billet’. The end result has a distinctively wood grain appearance, which, of course, just as in nature, is always unique. Though it dates back to 17th–century Japan, mokume-gane had largely fallen into obscurity by the middle of the last century. Not entirely coincidental with the rise in mass-produced and machine-made products, including jewellery. But now, thanks to Buunt, this beautifully intricate art is once again available for us to appreciate.
Stamp your independence… and hallmark your investment
This rare fusing of precious metals and gemstones with heat and hand that produces a billet with several different levels of ‘fineness’ of the constituent precious metals, which determine what ‘hallmark’ jewellery and jewelled gifts should carry, has even challenged the national agency responsible for measuring and marking the value of precious metals and gemstones. In much the same way as a fingerprint or an iris is unique, and the technology required to measure those two unique DNA markers took some time to catch up with the idea of using them for identification, Buunt’s mokume-gane pieces’ own intricate and unique DNA is prompting the Birmingham Assay Office to update its practices.
Stand out from the crowd. Assuredly…
Which is, after all, reassuring when making a decision to choose either this or that beautiful object of desire. Very few, though, can fully reassure us, as Buunt does, that individualism through beauty is available. And its pieces are, in the truest sense of the word, unique. Which means that when you wear or use one of its beautiful works of art, you are the only person in the world with that object in your hand or on your body. The only one. You are one of a kind. And what price would you put on that?