Bees haven't just flown onto the style scene; in fact, these industrious insects have enjoyed popularity dating back to antiquity. The ancient Egyptians worshipped bees as the tears of their sun god, Ra; the bee motif eventually came to symbolize the unification of Egypt following a period of civil strife. The Indian god of love, Kama, was said to have a bow made of bees, while Scandinavians believed that the bee had the convenient ability to relay prayers to the heavens. The list goes on: everyone from the Etruscans to the Ephesians and the Asians to the Aegeans revered bees in one way or another. The tombs of the Mycenaeans were even designed to resemble beehives!
The so-called Napoleon bee, while technically a cicada, is perhaps the most recognizable bee motif in contemporary times. The oldest emblem of the French dynasty, the bee experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to political leader Napoleon Bonaparte, who adopted the honey bee as his royal emblem. Festooning everything from his undergarments to the canopy of his thrown, bees became one of the most recognizable symbols of power in France under the diminutive dictator's reign.
Bees add a fanciful touch to any jewelry collection. Richly regal, they also possess a unique sense of whimsy. This Amethyst and Diamond Bee Brooch makes a stunning statement in yellow gold, setting off a vibrant pear-shaped amethyst "stinger," and a constellation of rose cut side diamonds. Luxe line Chaumet, meanwhile, has celebrated the bee for over five centuries of French history. A favorite of Napoleon himself, the brand maintained a devoted following of the era's chicest customers, and still does today. Our pick? The elegantly iconic, oh-so-charming Chaumet 18Kt Diamond Bee Brooch.
If the very thought of bees induces an allergic reaction, consider the less reactionary but equally on-trend butterfly. These dainty delights are a joy to behold--both in their natural settings and in precious metal. Butterfly baubles abound in sherbet shades, from the Sapphire, Ruby, & Diamond Butterfly Brooch to the Sapphire & Diamond Butterfly Brooch to the Pink Sapphire, Diamond Butterfly Brooch, all offset by elegant white gold.
While Muhammad Ali may have famously advised the world to "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," we believe there's room for both in your jewelry case. While bee- and butterfly-inspired jewels pack a powerful punch, entomophobes should take note: as with many thing in life that have the potential to sting, the proximity to sweetness prevails.