Shining light

Elegant butterfly brooch with 1.60 ct diamonds, made around 1890

This beautifully detailed butterfly brooch was created in the 1890s. It combines old European cut diamonds with rubies and turquoises and sets them in gold and silver. The antennae on which the rubies sit and the setting of the turquoise are made of gold, while the diamonds on the body of the butterfly are set in silver. The history of insects in jewellery is closely linked to the political and cultural events of the 19th century. The first fashions came in the middle of the century with the new archaeological discoveries in Greece and Italy and the enthusiasm for Egypt triggered by the construction of the Suez Canal. Here it was especially scarabs, which decorated colourful necklaces or bracelets, which were made in the style of antiquity. They still bear witness to the fascination with the talismans and jewels of the past, which were believed to ward off evil and possess various charms and mystical powers. The love of naturalism of the 1880s and 1890s then further fueled the depiction of insects in jewellery. In particular, the creations of René Lalique and other Art Nouveau artists were full of innovation in both their design and artistry. For example, they turned to new materials such as enamel to capture the delicate colours and fragility of insects. To this day, famous jewellery houses such as Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels or Cartier create complete collections with animal motifs. Butterflies, bees, and dragonflies appeared in those years in the form of delicate, filigree brooches and pins designed to flatter the grace and gracefulness of their wearers. The wings and bodies of insects gave goldsmiths the opportunity to invent new jewellery techniques and challenged their skills in design and execution. The brooch presented here is a wonderful example of this: the executing goldsmith has managed to emphasise the white, sparkling light of the precious diamonds once again by setting them in silver, while emphasising the colour of the turquoises by setting them in gold. In this way, the design emphasizes the beauty of the natural model and restores its harmony in jewel form.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.