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Creeping Into the World of Jewelry: The History of Insect Motifs

by Paige McKirahan 19 Oct 2018 0 Comments

Creeping Into the World of Jewelry: The History of Insect Motifs

By Paige McKirahan


Over time, we have observed designers and innovators create pieces of art and fashion that reflect the interests of society. Given our long standing fascination with nature, it was only natural that insect motifs would crawl their way into the wild world of accessories. From using real insects to creating them out of diamonds and pearls, this aesthetic choice has been popular for centuries and it seems that it is here to stay.


As many common themes in jewelry do, the practice of incorporating insects in accessories has roots in ancient Egypt. Scarabs in amulets were widely popularized and most of the time, real scarabs would be used in the creation of these pieces. Butterflies, which are the most popular insects depicted in fashion, were incorporated into Egyptian bracelets as early as 2600 B.C. It has been said that wearing insect motifs has long been associated with the symbolism surrounding each of these arthropods. The cicada along with some variations of beetles and butterflies have positive attributes relating to immortality, rebirth, rejuvenation, longevity, and courage.


Why do we form these types of associations you ask? It could be attributed to the fact that we have been able to naturally or historically observe the lives of insects. Many go undergo the process of metamorphosis, where they grow and completely alter their appearance in different growth stages. Though ancient wearers of these designs may not have known about the science behind these transformations, they would have still noticed these obvious changes, influencing them to form the positive associations we are familiar with today.


Butterfly Bee Bug Insect Jewelry Floral Cocktail Ring Nand


As time soldered on, insects were incorporated into designs sporadically until they burst in popularity in the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau eras. Throughout these periods, natural themes were popular in all forms of art, from fashion to architecture. The emerging industrial era and romantic associations surrounding nature prompted the widespread use of insect motifs. Many featured depictions of moths, butterflies, and dragonflies, and were created from a variety of gems, pearls, and colored glasses.

pink butterfly pin brooch blue bug vintage jewelry

Insects in fashion are still prominent themes in collections from Jeffrey Campbell to Betsey Johnson. Whether it be in ancient Egypt or the New York runways, we love the wild look of arthropods in jewelry here at TalkingFashion! Head over to our collection and search for your favorite bug-inspired pieces to accessorize any season!

Sugar Gay Isber Bug Earrings Contemporary Jewelry

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