For some reason, we like jewellery in the shape of insects birds and animals. I have talked about snakes in a previous post but you can also see jewellery in the shape of spiders, bees, birds, cats, dogs, horses, and so on. The Victorians in particular produced a variety of novelty pieces of jewellery in the shape of insects and birds, some actually using parts of birds and insects, which I will talk about in a later post.
One of the reasons for the use of birds and insects in jewellery was due to the symbolism associated with them. The swallow was and is a favourite bird because they symbolise mating for life, as well as coming home safely. Dragonflies symbolise swiftness, courage, bravery, and change, as do cicadas and butterflies.
The owl is seen as the symbol of wisdom and learning and obviously three owls, as in the brooch below, must be particularly wise.
The bee can symbolise good fortune, joy and harmony, as well as industriousness and zealousness.
Of course, the piece of jewellery may have been designed merely to be a beautiful object.