The use of insect motifs in jewellery fell firmly into fashion in the middle to late 1800s. Many bug brooches, pendants and even rings were produced with delicate & intricate workmanship. These pieces could be adorned with any combination gems, in a kaleidoscope of colours, to depict the body shape and eyes of the insect.
In a curious twist of etiquette, refined ladies and gentlemen would wear these little glittering creatures even though, in day-to-day life they would be quite repulsed by their presence.
The bumble bee however requires very special attention due to it’s prestigious position as the royal emblem of the House of Bonaparte. Though France was a bitter enemy of England in the early 1800s, by the mid to late 19th century the allure of the French Empire period, under Napoleon III, saw the revival of the bee and his winged friends on both sides of the Channel. These fashion trends were thus transported throughout the English empire and the United States as well, through its close alliance with the French.