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Spring's prettiest trend: Madame Butterfly

Get your net out - butterfly season is here. This spring, that prettiest of winged creatures is fluttering onto fingers, wrists and even shoulders.

22 April 2013

After a long, harsh winter, the daffodils are bobbing their heads in the breeze and a pretty flock of butterflies flutters onto fingers, wrists and shoulders thanks to the creative talents of a diverse range of jewellers.

The most recent arrival is Tiffany and Co.'s diamond, black opal and Montana sapphire lepidoptera, which recently spread its platinum wings and alighted on Gwyneth Paltrow's shoulder for Tiffany's Blue Book Ball in New York ( read more here). Fresh as Paltrow's butterfly looked, her style is not new. In March this year, Christie's London sold a beautiful vintage coral Van Cleef & Arpels butterfly brooch for almost 10 times its estimate. 

Stephen Webster takes our winged friend and turns it into beautifully eerie jewels called Couture Voyage Africa, which shimmer with a brightness of colour and lightness that only fine gemstones and delicate craftsmanship can achieve. Meanwhile, David Morris and Van Cleef & Arpels take a more traditional approach and create pretty across-the-finger rings that are so apt for the butterfly, whose open wings seem to hover over the hand. 

Chinese artist jeweller Wallace Chan perhaps best expresses himself through his amazingly delicate butterfly brooches. Using the body of a real butterfly as a model, Chan creates an ultra-light titanium frame into which he sets precious gemstones in ways you have never seen before. Their ephemeral beauty and breathtaking colours are about as close as it gets to the real thing. In fact, in some instances, Chan has used actual butterfly wings, encased between layers of crystal, to capture the magic powdery irridescence of the creature's wings ( read more about Wallace Chan's jewels here).

Fellow Asian jewellery designer Cindy Chao has also been inspired by the shimmering wings on one of nature's prettiest creatures. Her Royal Butterfly masterpiece, rich with diamonds and precious stones, now sits in the Smithsonian Institue in Washington ( read more here). Meanwhile, British sculptor-turned-jeweller Jack du Rose ventures to the dark side with a bejewelled homage to the butterfly of the night, otherwise known as the moth, in his 'Fly by Night' brooch.

And butterflies are not just limited to jewels. GraffChaumet and Van Cleef & Arpels have recently treated us to a whole collection of watches with dials decorated with this pretty winged insect. Get your net out - butterfly season is here.

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