Butterflies have always been a source of inspiration to me. When I inherited two antique brooches made with real butterfly wings from my Grandmother, it sparked the idea for my new range of jewellery. The brooches date back to the Victorian era and I became very interested in how you can take something as transient as a butterfly, and immortalise it in a piece of jewellery that can be passed down three generations. I wanted to create a range of timeless, classic pieces that could become family heirlooms at a time when disposable consumables seem to dominate our world.
The average butterfly only lives between 1 day and 4 weeks, so I wanted to find a way to immortalise these beautiful creatures in pendants that can be handed down from generation to generation. The result is a unique range of jewellery made from exotic butterfly wings set in a sterling silver frame. You can choose to set the wing in glass or acrylic perspex. The wings are magically iridescent and constantly change colour as they interact with light. Both the front and back of the wing are visible and these are usually completely different.
The butterflies used in my jewellery are sourced from an organisation that manages sustainable farming projects all over the world. The organisation currently supports families in 21 different countries.
Agricultural development has caused the natural habitat of a lot of butterfly species to become threatened, and their populations started dwindling. Farming programs were therefore started to enable farmers from third world countries to keep the rain forests on their land intact, while still providing a livelihood that paid better than mono-cultural crops. The breeding program enables thousands of butterflies to be bred. A portion of the butterflies are caught and sold, and the money generated from the sales ensures that the tropical forests, which are vital to their survival, are preserved.
By purchasing my jewellery, you are not only doing your bit for the environment, you are also providing employment for the families in third world countries who breed and raise these delicate creatures.
Extensive research has been done on the many benefits of sustainably farming insects. Below are a number of articles on the subject that you can download.
Papillon Belle proudly supports The Antennae Foundation who are committed to the preservation and conservation of insect diversity globally. Read more.
Acrylic Perspex looks exactly like glass, but it is a lot more affordable. We use the same material used in high quality sunglass lenses. There is a 20 year guarantee from the manufacturers on discolouration (this is dependant on the amount of UV exposure) so if you look after your jewellery, your pendant should last you a lifetime.
Glass on the other hand is scratch resistant and won’t discolour over time. All our glass is cut by hand in South Africa. If you choose to encase your wing in glass, we will engrave the Papillon Belle logo and the year of manufacture on the frame, so you can pass it down as a family heirloom from generation to generation.
Each pendant is sold in a luxury gift box containing protective sponge with black satin lining. The logo is foiled in silver on the lid of the box. We issue a certificate of authenticity containing information on the range, the specimen and it's country of origin as well as instructions on how to care for your pendant.
The pendant is not waterproof. Care should be taken to avoid contact with moisture, as this will damage the wing. Do not apply moisturizer or perfume close to the pendant. When not worn, store in it's box in a cool, dark, dry place to preserve the colour for years to come. Polish with a dry silver polishing cloth.