Artists often look to the world around us for inspiration, which often draws the most beautiful results in art. For years, notable jewellery crafters have been looking towards animals to create eclectic, playful pieces. The use of various animals can really help your outfit tell a story; big cats such as panthers or tigers suggest fierceness, whereas butterflies and bees are delicate and dainty. Animal imagery has been prevalent amongst jewellers for centuries; the scarab beetle for example, played a large part in Ancient Egyptian jewellery.
Opting for animal inspired jewellery is a great choice as we transition into Summer. As we start reaching for bolder, colourful outfits, why not get your accessories to match? Additionally, if you’re looking to elevate a simple outfit, animal inspired pieces can really bring some fun to your look.
It is without a doubt that Cartier are one of the most prestigious jewellery makers in the world, known for their excellent craftsmanship, lavish price tags and of course, exclusivity. They have had a longstanding history with royalty, as King Edward VII described Cartier as “the jewellery of kings and the king of jewellers”. Our Cartier 18k White Gold Diamond and Ruby Elephant Cufflinks are certainly fit for a king. African and Asian cultures view the elephant as a symbolism of strength, power and wisdom. Pairing this vintage piece with a crisp white shirt, almost adds a touch of British Raj regality and adds more imagination and creativity to an otherwise simple look.
From Cartier’s more recent Les Oiseaux Libérés collection, we have a splendid Cartier 18k Rose Gold Mother of Pearl, Diamond & Emerald Ring shaped like an exotic bird. Rose Gold is a wonderful in-between if you can’t decide between gold or silver, with this ring featuring Diamond, Emerald and Mother of Pearl stones, roughly weighing 1.96 carats with 162 cut stones in total. We also have a matching necklace available, featuring round brilliant cut Diamonds, Mother of Pearl and Emeralds mounted in an intricate 18k Rose Gold design, comprising of 244 stones in total.
Cartier’s iconic Panthère de Cartier collection takes on a sharp and sleek approach with its big-cat themed jewellery. We have a 18k White Gold Diamond Panthère Ring with Diamonds, Emeralds & Onyx stones. Big cat rings are always a good statement piece, with its primary stone weighing in at 2.55ct. It adds an edge to your outfit, whilst also maintaining that quintessential Cartier elegance.
The relationship between the panther imagery and Cartier first came about when illustrator George Barbier was commissioned to draw up advertising campaign to depict the modern, alluring woman in 1913. The drawing resulted in a glamorously-dressed woman standing straight, adorned in necklaces with a poised panther at her feet. This was named Dame a la Panthère. Jean Touissant, supposedly the inspiration behind the artwork and later, Cartier’s elected creative director, shifted the jeweller’s work away from the Art Deco style to more three-dimensional panther-shaped pieces, as she felt inspired by Indian Mughal jewellery.
It’s not only Cartier who have taken flight with interweaving animal imagery into their work. The French jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels are well known for their flora and fauna inspired jewellery. These pieces show a demure and fresh side of nature, emanating almost a fairytale-like appearance. For those interested in something muted yet elegant, we have a stylish Fly & Flutter Butterfly Necklace. Part of their Fauna collection, the necklace features Grey Mother of Pearl and round brilliant cut Diamonds on 18k White Gold and secured with a lobster clasp at the back. This necklace elegantly rests close to the collar bone, exuding delicate femininity. Many of Van Cleef & Arpels collections have paid homage to the ‘spirit of nature’, driving an ultra-feminine and romantic stance on their designs. Other pieces in the Fauna collection celebrates movement and flight, featuring delicate and curious creatures such as butterflies and dragonflies.
French luxury jeweller, Boucheron, takes on a slightly louder, voluptuous form in its designs. Our Boucheron Dragonfly Pendant Necklace will certainly catch the attention of many. The necklace is comprised of cabochon Rubies and round brilliant cut Diamonds set in 18k Yellow Gold with the dragonfly wings formed out of foil-backed rock crystal. Given its size, it is certainly a stark difference to the Fly & Flutter necklace, but a still an elegant choice, nonetheless.
The opulence of the necklace comes as no surprise, considering Boucheron’s track record. They were the first jeweller to move their boutique to Place Vendôme in Paris, a forward-thinking move considering most jewellery-related business at the time was conducted in private within apartments. Boucheron brought the beauty and art of their designs front and centre, allowing jewellery to become a visual and open experience for their clients. The use of dragonflies is not new for Maison Boucheron at all; an Art Nouveau style Dragonfly brooch dating back to 1890 resides in The Metropolitan Museum of Arts. Another piece features a tiara with a detachable dragonfly, allowing it to transform into a brooch. Dragonflies are often symbolic of change and maturity; the Japanese used dragonfly imagery to symbolise power, agility and victory, as samurai would wear dragonfly designs on their kimonos to signify strength.
Garrard are known for their more intricate pieces and pride themselves in being the longest-serving jewellers in the world. They were appointed their first royal commission from Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1735. Since Garrard’s were appointed the first official Crown Jeweller, they have been serving the British royal family for well over a century. Garrard’s designs are certainly regal in every form, with apt motifs such as crowns and rings speckled with sapphires and rubies, but our delightful Garrard 18k Yellow Gold Enamel & Diamond Vintage Penguin brooch is a different and playful take from the jewellery makers. This charming brooch features black enamel and round brilliant cut Diamonds, made in 18k Yellow Gold. Compared to Garrard’s other animal designs, such as their Signature Serpent designs from their Muse collection, the penguin design is an inviting and pleasant choice. Our pre-owned Penguin brooch can introduce playfulness to an ensemble, much like the characteristics of the flightless birds themselves.
You probably know Tiffany & Co. as one of the biggest jewellers in the world, identified through its iconic robin egg blue colour. Their flagship store in New York City, spaciously nestled in 5th Avenue is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Here, we have a striking pair of Frog Cufflinks crafted in 18k Yellow Gold and finished with Cabochon Emeralds. The colour combination of the emeralds, representing the frogs’ eyes, against its beautifully textured yellow gold body works in perfect harmony. Whilst these cufflinks are a great, light-hearted choice to spruce up your sleeves, Tiffany & Co.’s impeccable craftsmanship truly shines through in this vintage piece.
There’s no harm in tapping into your wild side and have a bit of fun with your accessories. Animal pieces are no doubt a must-have for all jewellery collectors alike and hope our collection of pre-loved animal-inspired jewellery will help add some whimsy and wonder into your existing assemblage.