Let me tell you about the birds and the bees


Insect Jewellery

If you are a bird, you’re pretty lucky. But if you are a butterfly or bee, you’ve really made it – in the jewellery business that is! Designers, jewellers and customers love you! Actually almost any member of the insect family: bumble bee, dragonfly, ladybird and other beetles ..even ants and spiders. Small and pretty they grace our necks, wrists and fingers.

Jewellery with Feathers

Birds equally supply designers with a sheer endless variety of shapes and colours, from exotic humming bird to peacock, eagle, sparrow, swallow, right down to the humble hen. There is a bird for everyone.

Rodent Jewellery

Even as a rodent you can make it in the jewellery world. Ok, maybe not as a beaver, and if a squirrel, try to be red, but as long as you look cute and have little beady eyes, your chances are good.

Cat & Dog Jewellery

And as we are a nation of pet lovers, cats and dogs have made it into jewellery design too. I’m not only talking about various dog tags, they even come in precious metals set with diamonds, or jewellery FOR dogs….well, each to their own, my dogs would not let me get anywhere near them with a piece of doggy jewellery! No, I’m talking about jewellery OF dogs. Now don’t hold your breath in shock, nothing to do with taxidermy!! I love Jackie Kaufman’s pieces of dogs’ noses, and as a dog’s nose is as unique as a fingerprint, these are all unique pieces…and of course special if it’s your own pooch.

And yes, you guessed it – I thought I’d give it a go myself! I’m a jeweller, I can do this! It took a while…chasing my dogs through the kitchen trying to stick modelling clay on their noses, one thought it was food, the other one wouldn’t
have it, not even treats would help. We got there in the end, …and no animal was harmed in the process! Ta da – dog nose key ring in bronze!

dog nose key ring

Dog nose key ring

Farm Animal Jewellery

Even more domestic animals such as cows, sheep and goats come in shiny versions. Pigs might not have the looks, but they have the brains and are associated with good luck, so they have made it into jewellery too! So have bunny rabbits and hares. An engagement ring in the shape of a leaping hare was one of the more unusual commissions for me so far.

Bespoke jewellery by susannahanl

Bespoke jewellery by Susanna Hanl

Animals of the Wild Jewellery

Then there are of course all the exotic animals from far and wide – elephants, tigers and lions, we even let snakes and reptiles drape themselves all over us, as long as they come in precious metals and sparkle! That’s all well and good, and being beautiful and pretty might make your life easier… but what about the not so fortunate, the hyenas, vultures and centipedes of this world? They are not ugly… they are just, well, different. I’ll be off to design a new collection – bring on the Aardvark!

Credits with thanks.
Images supplied by:
Jackie Kaufman
Ariane Rocher
Grainne Morton
Kimberley Selwood
Bill Skinner
Jana Reinhardt
Aradia Nista
Claire English
Jeremy Heber


About Author

Jewellery designer and Silversmith based in Edinburgh. I create bespoke, one off Jewellery pieces in silver and gold, as well as bronze, copper and brass. Many of them are set with diamonds, pearls or unusual precious and semi precious stones. I love the idea that every individual piece is unique, which makes it even more special for the person who wears it. Inspiration for my work comes from art, nature, conversations and chance.

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