Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Butterflies are Free

Butterfly earrings

I remember a table from my childhood that fascinated me as well as made me feel a little uneasy. It was a butterfly table. The top of the small table has many different colored butterflies spread out over the top of the surface, all embedded in some sort of clear plastic. You could see the iridescent shine of the wings and their little bodies all frozen in time. It was like a butterfly collection without all the pins. Butterfly collecting was an extremely popular hobby in the Victorian Era. There are many butterflies in Victorian collections that are simply unattainable today due to protected species laws, but butterfly collecting continues and jewelry is now being made from these beautiful insects.

A butterfly wing can be worn as a pendant

Today, non endangered species of butterflies are collection from the floors of butterfly houses in South America. The butterflies’ wings are then preserved and made into jewelry, pendants and earrings. Before anyone gets upset, the butterflies are collected from the floor of the butterfly house after they have lived out their natural lives. The species are not endangered and all CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) are followed. These butterflies are not exploited nor hunted to the point of extinction. Additionally, I’ve been told that money from the purchase of these pieces goes toward protecting the rainforest and also provides jobs for the region’s people.

Nature in jewelry is nothing new, antique butterfly brooch

The interesting look of these pieces has made me wonder whether or not there is an actual market for jewelry made from the wings of butterflies. The wings have an iridescent quality that cannot be duplicated in any other manner. The colors are quite beautiful and each piece of jewelry is unique. The patterns on the wings of a butterfly are like a fingerprint, everyone has fingerprints and each is unique to the individual. The iridescent properties of the wings are caused by the reflection of different wavelengths of light. The color your eye sees directly corresponds to refraction of these wavelengths off of the butterfly wings and can change with the angle.

While real butterfly jewelry may not be for everyone, you cannot deny the beauty of a butterfly wing. This is probably why so many people collection butterflies. They have a natural beauty that cannot be duplicated. One of the top jewelry trends for this spring is natural jewelry. This can be jewelry that resembles an animal made entirely from gemstones or metal, humming birds and butterflies are popular. There are rings and pendants of animals and flowers which all represent spring. So I’m hopeful that I get some comments on this blog on whether real butterfly wing jewelry is hot or not. I could always use some feedback.

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