Martha Stewart on Insects

If Martha loves it, it must be in style! Here's an excerpt from her March 2007 issue of "Living" magazine. She's referring specifically to insect jewelry, but I think her sentiments could be applied to Insect Art as well!

If you have ever been captivated by a butterfly alighting on a thistle or a ladybug meandering along a garden wall, chances are you will adore insect jewelry. The playful pieces allow you to delight in nature's beauty...without anything buzzing or crawling. Yet these bugs are imbued with vibrancy and personality, as if they were really alive. These are several of the traits that prompted Nancy Heckler, a Martha Stewart Living contributing editor, to start amassing insect brooches thirty years ago. "I'm drawn to the whimsical quality of these pins," says Heckler, who displays the creatures on framed velvet panels in her bedroom and wears them often. Her menagerie includes nearly two hundred pieces, many of which appear here, and spans almost a century of styles.Insect jewelry flitted into fashion in ancient Egypt. Flies, mosquitoes, and scarabs were popular emblems for signet rings and necklaces set with stones such as lapis lazuli and quartz.Interest in bug motifs waned in subsequent centuries as religious designs proliferated. The genre made a comeback in the 1800s after Napoleon I of France adopted the bee as his insignia; the insect soon adorned everything from neoclassical earrings to chokers.During the Victorian era, a romantic fascination with nature led to a swarm of butterfly brooches, beetle hat pins, and fly pendants made from gold filigree, enamel, and semiprecious gems. Around the turn of the twentieth century, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Rene Lalique created bejeweled bug necklaces, combs, and pins in elaborately curved, intertwined designs.The discovery of King Tut's tomb, in 1922, ignited an Egyptian revival that inspired Art Deco-style jewels, including scarab brooches by Cartier. In the next decade, the trend turned toward more fanciful pieces made of colorful Bakelite and Lucite. The 1950s saw a boom in mass-produced costume jewelry: lapel pins, corsage ornaments, charms, and the like.These days, bug accessories are as plentiful as the critters themselves. Heck­ler finds hers at antiques dealers, vintage-jewelry stores, flea markets, and online auctions. Prices vary widely depending on materials, condition, and rarity. Grasshoppers and moths, which are relatively scarce, are more valuable than ubiquitous butterflies and spiders; jewelry by famed designers (Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli) can cost thousands of dollars. Items in Heck­ler's cache range from a $3 pipe cleaner cricket to a $500 Victorian ivory bar pin inlaid with bugs.To begin your collection, you could focus on a single species of insect. Or you could follow Heckler's approach: Buy whatever catches your eye and brings you joy. Getting bitten by a bug has never been such a pleasure.

1 comment:

Dale said...

Making jewelries out of them is definitely an art. It's nice that she likes them.

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