Jewels That flutter and transform

Botinicals might be in full bloom this season but they aren’t the only creations that bespeak nature’s beauty. Butterflies are also fluttering around for spring/summer and they have metamorphosized from creatures that land in your garden to those that translate in everything from prints on fabrics to precious and non-precious material in renowned and independent jeweler’s collections.  They also appeared during the fall runway collections, on red carpet events, and famous museums.

Georgian Butterfly Brooch

Butterflies have long been a motif throughout jewelry’s history, gem-set in colors of pink topaz, aquamarine, citrine and amethyst in closed foil back mountings.  In Victorian times, they became lighter and their wings were detailed with small cabochons and intricate gold work. Then, during the naturalistic Art Nouveau period, they took flight, their bodies and wings agile and three dimensional with delicate plique a jour enamel work. Asian influences took hold during the Art Deco period and saw them in precious gems.  They have soared in and out of jewelry throughout the 20th century and early 21st century and they are now once again landing in designer and big brand collections. They bespeak meanings of transformation, renewal and new beginnings.

Art Nouveau butterfly brooch by Henri Vever.

The most exceptional butterflies  this season flitted around the following collections:

Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2018/2019 runway show, which was an ode to the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies and it translated into bold prints in ready-to-wear. Jeweled butterflies encircled the neck and dangling from the model’s ears on the catwalk.

During the Canne’s Film Festival, Cate Blanchett turned up in a Chopard ring that was red-carpet worthy in the choice of color,  scale and 3-D effect.

There is traditionally a feeling that sweeps through different cultural aspects during a period of time and this is one of those moments.  Beyonce recently donated her “Papillon” ring to the Victoria & Albert Museum.  London-based design Glenn Spiro created the ring in 2014 and her husband Jay Z purchased it for her. It is designed in blue titanium with wings that flutter with green tsavorites and that are edged in diamonds. On display in the William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery,  it now resides alongside jewels associated with iconic pieces from Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great and Empress Josephine.

As far as modern butterflies go, there are none so dramatic and intricately designed in a mix of precious and non-precious material as Silvia Furmanovich in her signature marquetry technique.

Other butterflies abound in gold and pave set melee stones or carved gemstones. They are just waiting to be caught and worn with abandon.