May 11, 2022— During the course of the Beautiful Creatures exhibition I curated at the American Museum of Natural History last year many people asked if I thought there would be a revival of animal jewelry and if so, which animal would it be?
My answers were always: “Yes” and “Butterflies.”
Above and beyond the fact that butterflies are one of the most ubiquitous creatures in the animal jewelry kingdom, I thought a kaleidoscope would be heading our way because they turn up in big numbers when there is a desire for change. For example, during the tumultuous 1960s there was a craze for butterflies at every level of jewelry from one-of-a-kind precious pieces to costume creations.
Clearly, we are living in a moment when people would like to turn the page or go through a metamorphosis. Find out about the designers who have new butterflies in their collections and others who have consistently been making them over the years below.
A trend really begins to feel like a trend when a celebrity turns up wearing it. And Julia Roberts is about as A-list as it gets. The actress is an ambassador for Chopard these days, but that doesn’t mean she had to wear a butterfly brooch. She chose to wear a butterfly brooch at the Starz premiere of ‘Gaslit.’ The piece felt joyful on her grey suit jacket.
From Chopard’s Red Carpet collection, the butterfly brooch Julia Roberts wore features four heart shaped diamonds totaling 36.55-carats and 9.82-carats of diamonds set in 18k white gold.
The 19-year-old singer-song writer Olivia Rodrigo made butterflies the theme of her Met Gala ensemble. The star had butterflies in her hair designed by Jennifer Behr x Betsy Johnson and on her finger she sported a De Beers diamond butterfly ring along with earrings and a necklace by the jeweler.
Detail of the De Beers Jewellers Portraits of Nature Monarch Butterfly ring worn by Olivia Rodrigo. The jewel is set with 2.95-carats of diamonds in white gold.
The lyrical James Banks collection, created in collaboration by Adam Shulman and master jeweler Heidi Nasher Fink, has long had butterflies in a number of variations of earrings, pendants and necklaces.
Some of the most dazzling designs are based on real species of butterflies. They are rendered in several different types of metal.
For James Banks butterflies represent “…the echo, the reflection, the reverberation of life before us and behind us.”
“Reverie, The Path to Joy,” the new collection from Foundrae designer Beth Bugdaycay, features butterflies as well as spades and the Roman numeral X.
For Beth the symbolism of butterflies is linked to many classic stories from the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche to the ideas of ancient Egyptians who believed butterflies were a symbol of the soul and a figure representing the metamorphosis of life.
The Reverie collection is also about: “Emerging from our isolation during quarantine, much as a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, collaborating, coming together again.”
Jennifer Fisher, who stays so in tune with her clients through a steady stream of Instagram stories, briefly explained recently that she brought back her Butterfly gold plated brass and silver jewels because of popular demand.
For Jennifer butterflies are a “constant symbol of beauty and strength.”