Organic Objects: Butterfly Wings

This is one of the more unusual organic materials in my jewellery collections. It is a sweater clip. It was made in the 1950s or early 1960s. Back then, the way to wear the cardi part of your twin set was to have it draped over your shoulders cape-style. The clip help keep the cardigan from falling off your shoulders.

Look closely at the scene depicted on the clips. What is that irridescent blue background made of? Why the wings of a Morpho Butterfly, of course. Most butterfly wing jewellerywas produced between the 1920s and 1950salthough some is still being made in South America today. It almost always depicts a landscape reverse painted on glass with the brilliant blue standing in for the sky or the sea — although I just sold a sterling charm that depicted the map of Florida with the wing filling in the landmass. Oh Florida, you always have to be different, don’t you?

Remember, if you click on the image above, you can see a much larger version and truly get an appreciation for the shimmeriness of the background