Throughout history, animals have appeared on the wrists, lapels, ears, necks and fingers of jewelry lovers all over the world. In certain cultures, animal held specific meaning. The animal adorned of ancient Egypt felt protected by a faience scarab pendant. A gold lion-headed bracelet, symbolized strength and was associated with the god Heracles in classical Greece.
Today, animals in the form of jewelry are more likely to be an expression of who we are, and whom we adore. These winsome designs reflect our interests in a beautiful and decorative way – and make perfect holiday gifts for the animal lovers in our lives.
Wildly popular, bejeweled animals can be found in just about any jewelry store, and in nearly every fashionable lady’s jewel box. You will never tire your precious little friends – they add amusement to your cashmere sweaters, and whimsy to a simple suit and you’ll be amazed at just how quickly your 19th century diamond terrier or pearl beetle will become a holiday party conversation piece.
Certain animals, it seems, have been more en vogue in different periods. Butterflies, trembling and beautifully enameled were a popular subject in the Art Nouveau period, while bees in rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds, often buzzed in swarms on many lapels in the 1980’s.
Technique and style also vary. Most animal jewelry is in brooch form, but certainly earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings can be found. Animal jewels are commonly executed in yellow gold with precious gems but more contemporary pieces can include white gold and semi-precious stones. Antique pieces are often one-of-a-kind and their price will reflect their uniqueness.
This holiday season is the perfect time to explore the animal kingdom. From glistening starfish to the sleek signature Cartier panther, there’s an animal out there for you. We’ve put together some of our favorite pieces from the chicest boutiques and fine jewelers in the country. Think of these gorgeous gems while making your holiday wish list and leave this issue of Animal Fair open on the kitchen table for potential buyers to browse. You never know…
By Catherine Simon