LoveGold Themed Jewels

Sweet Like A Honey Bee: Buzz-Worthy Jewels

Honey Bee

Throughout jewelry history, insects have been popular sources of inspiration for jewelers, particularly the bee. In the nineteenth century, the romantic interest in naturalism inspired artists to create jeweled renditions of all aspects of nature, including insects. Brooches, rings, necklaces, lockets and even hair ornaments took the forms of grasshoppers, houseflies, beetles and bees during the Victorian era.

Victorian Diamond, Tiger's Eye, Opal and Ruby Bee Pin (Lang Antiques)

A Victorian Diamond, Tiger’s Eye, Opal and Ruby Bee Pin (Lang Antiques)

As jewelry design entered the artistic period of Art Nouveau in the early 20th century, bees became a favorite theme for jewelers in their ornately designed pieces. Both Gaillard and Lalique incorporated bees as part of jeweled tableaus, such as bees sucking nectar from flowers. In the 1930s and ’40s, the scientific term “hymenoptera”, the name for the order of four-winged insects, was also used to describe jewels shaped like wasps, bees or flies. First coined by Boucheron, “hymenoptera” jewels typically combined a gem-set body with wings made out of gold mesh brilliantly set with diamonds.

René Lalique (1860-1945) - Bees on Flowers Hair Comb. Carved Horn, Enamel, Gold and Silver. Circa 1900.

René Lalique (1860-1945) – Bees on Flowers Hair Comb. Carved Horn, Enamel, Gold and Silver. Circa 1900.

By the 1950’s and ’60s, the popularity of bees, along with its fellow flying insects, had returned to levels not seen since the Victorian era. Inventive brooches by leading jewelry firms such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Mauboussin had bees flying and crawling on shoulders, lapels, and in hair. Towards the later half of the 20th century, the bee motif famously buzzed its way into the designs of Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co, who continues to produce his ‘Bee’ designs today.

A Schlumberger "Bee" Ring, 1958 (Sotheby's)

A Schlumberger “Bee” Ring, 1958 (Sotheby’s)

Over time, the bee’s popularity has ebbed and flowed in fashion but has always been a beloved motif in jewelry. Today, bees and their geometric-patterned honeycomb continue to inspire contemporary jewelers much like they did the designers of decades past. Fittingly, yellow gold is the perfect vehicle to portray the warm hued honey and the yellow shades of the bee’s body, decorated with enamel, diamonds and a variety of other precious materials. As for me, I happen to love the jeweled honey bees of both the past and the present.

 

This post is brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Sophie
    November 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Very nice post ! I love nature inspired jewelry.
    I have a really nice “bee cuff” of a french artist, Ladies & Bees : http://ladiesandbees.com/histoire/

    Thank you for your blog.

  • Reply
    Dana Kraus
    November 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    We have sold the iconic Schlumberger “Bee” ring several times with different stones . It really takes on a life of its own. Great posts!

  • Reply
    acsilver
    December 3, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Such a great post, I love the items you have picked! We do have quite a few bee brooches in our inventory and they all show such impressive craftmanship and details, definitely some of our favourites! It is amazing to think insect jewellery has been popular for so long now and is never going out of trend.

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