Bug and insect jewellery creating a major buzz

We're mesmerised by arthropods at the moment, as creepy crawlies and insects in flight make an impression in creative fields of art, furniture, jewellery and lighting.

Dominic Harris, a London designer who combines lighting with architecture, has an interactive Flutter Wall featuring 91 butterflies on a 84 inch UHD screen with exotic species that can flap, fly off, land or even launch a mass exodus when a person passes the artwork.

Spiders, beetles, centipedes, dragonflies and even ants are also trailing a path across jewellers' imaginations. Each species is accompanied with its own symbolism, and the structural intrigue presented by insects is a shared curiosity.

There is a certain allure in the brief life spans of insects and disappearing species that can imbue these pieces with a bittersweet, mournful or intangible mood.

Good luck charms

Butterflies and dragonflies naturally encourage joyful and happy associations, offering jewellers opportunities for coloured gemstone pieces that reflect vibrant garden vistas. Such gemstone play is evident in the Tiffany & Co. High Fine Jewellery Trunk show from New York, featuring some of the world's most magnificent fancy coloured diamonds in a celebration of the brilliant natural world, on view around Australia until August 22.

But many insects possess totemic meanings. Scarab beetles have been a motif since ancient Egyptian times in amulets, official seals or jewellery, connoting achievements, standing and protection. Spiders are rife with a sense of mystery, power and growth.

Dangerous spiders stoke a fear of the unpredictable but centipedes, like those that appear in US jeweller Gaelle Khouri's unique pieces, are particularly potent – not only venomous but rapid-moving. Their many legs have even led them to be considered a fortuitous ally of gamblers.

Simple fun

As for the ants? For British jeweller Frances Wadsworth-Jones they offer a sense of amusement.

"Ants appeal to me for a number of reasons. Firstly their behaviour, because it lends itself to endless playful narratives, and then their size because the stories created by them can happen at their own natural scale," she says. "I also love the double take that is involved as each piece is a whole world up close, but the detail is so tiny that it can completely disappear at a distance."


Wadsworth-Jones continues: "There is such a long tradition of insects in jewellery but … ants are more humourous than some macabre insects and are associated with the surreal."

Nouveau rich

While most of the insect creations on view right now are modern whimsies, underpinned with sophisticated engineering and craftsmanship, an Art Nouveau influence can also be traced back to the late 19th century German artist and biologist Ernst Haeckel. He inspired artists during the Art Nouveau period to apply organic shapes to objects in glass, metal and wood. Haeckel himself was known for taking artistic liberties with his scientific eye. So the boundary between realism and art is blurred on purpose.

Whatever insect you gravitate towards, it's more than likely the jewel will be a dramatic statement with a sense of theatre, demanding you to tread confidently through the urban jungle.

Scroll through the gallery above to see 20 creepy cool insect items we love. 

The Tiffany & Co. High Fine Jewellery Trunk Show is in Sydney until August 7, Melbourne from August 9-18, Gold Coast from August 20-22.