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Browse these categories under "Insect Jewellery"

At AC Silver we have a fine collection of vintage and antique insect jewellery, including gemstone encrusted dragonfly brooches to unique Victorian examples, as part of our Victorian insect jewellery collection.

Insect jewellery has become increasingly popular in recent years as people are drawn to the intricate details and unique beauty of these creatures.

Andrew Campbell, using his 40 years’ experience within the antique industry, handpicks all vintage and antique insect jewellery for sale.

All of our antique and vintage insect jewellery featuring gemstones and/or diamonds are accompanied with an independent gemstone and diamond grading report card and/or certificate in addition to free, insured, global shipping.

antique insect jewellery

At its origins, insect jewellery quite literally crawled all over the wearer. Many ancient civilisations wore live insects as fashion accessories. Soldiers in Ancient Egypt utilised scarab beetles as a form of mythic protection, as the beetles were believed to possess supernatural properties that would protect the wearer from harm.

Anceint Maya culture made use of the Mexican subspecies of the zopherus beetle. These large, docile beetles have been made into living brooches called ma’kechs at various points in time.

The beetle is attached to a decorative chain, which acts as a lead to ensure that the insect doesn’t wander too far afield when being worn. Additionally, it is ornamented with gold and semi-precious gemstones.

The ethical debate around live brooches is ongoing; some believe that the beetles involved become victims of human vanity, while others cite the cultural history and significance of beetle brooches to be validation for their existence.

The Maya folklore surrounding the wearing of beetles is a bittersweet tale of a princess in love with a member of a rival clan. Rather than go on existing, she stops eating and drinking.

A sympathetic healer of some kind witnesses the princess’ devotion and transforms her into an insect that can then be worn by the one she loves, keeping the lovers close. Whether or not there is any semblance of truth to the tale, or if its sole purpose is to convince tourists to invest in jewellery is unclear.

During the Victorian era, a romantic fascination with nature resulted in swarms of insect-adorned jewellery. Like many, the Victorians were inspired by older cultural traditions; it wouldn’t have been a shock, for example, to see respectable Victorian socialites wearing live beetle brooches.

They are so populous in fact, that dragonflies can be found in varied species on every continent in the world, a rare claim in the animal kingdom. Due to their relatively large size, sturdy body, and unique wings, dragonflies lend themselves to jewellery designs quite easily. The unique structure of dragonflies, however, meant that capturing their image in the form of jewellery was a difficult task. The first pieces of jewellery featuring dragonflies that can be identified as such came out of the late Victorian and early Art Nouveau periods.

More Ways to Shop

3.11 ct Diamond and Synthetic Ruby, 15 ct Yellow Gold Insect Brooch - Antique Victorian
Price: GBP £7,645.00
Turquoise and 0.27ct Diamond, 14ct Yellow Gold Grasshopper Brooch - Antique French Circa 1835
Price: GBP £5,950.00
Vintage Opal, Ruby, Sapphire Diamond Butterfly Brooch
Price: GBP £5,225.00
1.91ct Opal, 0.88ct Diamond and 0.54ct Sapphire, Silver Set Butterfly Pendant/Brooch - Antique Circa 1880
Price: GBP £4,950.00
Vintage Plique-a-Jour Bug Brooch with Gemstones
Price: GBP £4,950.00
2.75ct Diamond, 0.87ct Ruby, Sapphire and Onyx, 18ct Yellow Gold Scarab Beetle Brooch - Vintage Circa 1950
Price: GBP £4,950.00
3.88 ct Diamond and Emerald, 9 ct Yellow Gold Butterfly Brooch - Antique Circa 1910
Price: GBP £4,950.00
2.13ct Garnet, 1.50ct Diamond and Emerald, Yellow Gold Insect Pendant/Brooch
Price: GBP £4,450.00
Antique 3.10ct Moonstone Ruby Emerald Diamond and Pearl Yellow Gold Bug Brooch
Price: GBP £3,950.00
Antique Dragonfly Brooch with Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds in 18ct Yellow Gold
Price: GBP £3,950.00
0.60ct Turquoise, 0.28ct Diamond and Ruby, 18ct Yellow Gold Bug Brooch - Antique Circa 1895
Price: GBP £2,950.00
Enamel and 18ct Yellow Gold Ladybird Brooches - Vintage 1980
Price: GBP £2,950.00
Antique Cultured Pearl and Diamond Spider Brooch
Price: GBP £2,950.00
1.30ct Diamond and Pearl, Ruby and 9ct Yellow Gold 'Dragonfly' Brooch - Antique Victorian
Price: GBP £2,695.00
Synthetic Ruby and 0.28ct Diamond and 18ct Yellow Gold Butterfly Brooch - Antique Circa 1940
Price: GBP £2,250.00
1.95ct Chrysoprase and Diamond Dragonfly Brooch in 15ct Yellow Gold
Price: GBP £2,250.00
Plique-a-Jour and Ruby, 18ct Yellow Gold Butterfly Brooch - Vintage Spanish Circa 1970
Price: GBP £1,995.00
0.15ct Diamond and Ruby, Pearl and 12ct Yellow Gold 'Insect' Bar Brooch - Antique Circa 1890
Price: GBP £1,755.00
0.43ct Ruby and Diamond, 18ct Yellow Gold 'Insect' Brooch - Vintage Circa 1990
Price: GBP £1,535.00
12.39 ct Amethyst, Pearl and Ruby, 14 ct Yellow Gold Insect Brooch - Vintage Circa 1960
Price: GBP £1,495.00
2.31ct Garnet, 0.30 ct Diamond, Ruby and Pearl, 9 ct Yellow Gold Insect Buttonhole Brooch - Antique Circa 1920
Price: GBP £1,495.00
0.69 ct Emerald and Garnet, 9 ct Yellow Gold Dragonfly Brooch - Antique Victorian
Price: GBP £1,205.00
Sapphire and Diamond, Pearl and 15ct Yellow Gold 'Insect' Brooch - Antique Victorian
Price: GBP £1,205.00
1.28ct Diamond, Pearl and Garnet, 15ct Yellow Gold 'Hornet' Brooch - Antique Circa 1880
Price: GBP £1,095.00

Proud Members of

International Federation of Art and Antique Dealer Associations CINOA
National Association of Jewellery UK's trade association NAJ