How Morpho butterflies became decorations

Some curious children test the strength and take apart into small pieces everything they come across. They take apart toys, tear off bugs’ legs, tear off flower petals, etc. So they learn about the world. A little more than a hundred years ago the European people in the same way learned about nature.

Women wore stuffed exotic birds as decorations on their hats, the backs of scarab beetles decorated their dresses, and European men collected birds and insects, despite the deplorable consequences. Because in the pursuit of exoticism entire populations of birds and animals of individual islands were destroyed. This is how the desire of the curious man was manifested: to know, to study, to see, to touch, to master. By the way, when European man first saw a stuffed platypus, he thought it was a fake and someone’s joke.

Man’s love for jewelry with the wings of the Morpho butterfly has the same roots. Curiosity turned into fashion and a solution was found in the form of inexpensive and very effective wings of these butterflies. The clear blue color, interesting texture was used in different ways – a wing was simply inserted into the product or a story was drawn on top.

If the jewelry is from the U.S., often the brooch depicts tropical landscapes. Gallant scenes with ladies in crinolines were popular in Britain. There are ornaments with characteristic landscapes and figures in the national costume of Holland. Depictions of birds and animals are characteristic of both Europe and the United States.

They did it this way: first they drew a picture on the back of a transparent glass and then imposed it on the wing. This technique was patented by Thomas L. Mott in 1922 in London. His company has been selling such jewelry since 1875. But it became particularly popular after the demonstration of these ornaments at the British Imperial Exhibition in 1924 and 1925. Thomas Mott’s firm eventually bought out his competitors and became a monopolist in Great Britain.

At first the butterflies were imported from South America, but eventually they learned to grow them on special farms in Great Britain. Earrings, rings, pendants, brooches with the wings of Morpho butterflies were popular until the 1960s. And the farms still exist today.



Jewelry has been a huge passion of mine since my earliest years. Spending a lot of time looking at and studying them, I learned a lot of interesting things. Now I am ready to share this knowledge with you on the pages of my blog about jewelry. Nina

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