Friday, 21 November 2014

Animals in Jewellery: A Selection at Alfies

Animals have been an inspiration to artists and craftsmen for hundreds of years, and this is no different in the world of jewellery design. Animals are not only admired from an aesthetic point of view, but can also be symbolic: the butterfly and dragonfly symbolise a quiet or late blooming beauty, the lion stands for strength; the elephant wisdom and, in Ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle offered hope for rebirth.
The importance of the animal as a theme in jewellery has varied throughout the ages. In Victorian times, animals were particularly fashionable in jewellery and were often used as love tokens. Women would use jewelled animals and insects such as snakes, lizards, butterflies and dragonflies to adorn the lace on a hat or veil. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, on the other hand, the frog was a popular love token as it was an emblem for great fecundity.
More than anything else, when used in jewellery the animal has become a way of expressing personality and was the precursor for modern costume jewellery.
At Alfies many of our dealers have a fantastic selection of animal jewellery. Here are our top picks:

Selection of monkey brooches, all 1920s, silver with marcasite or paste. Zeeba Jewels - Sormeh Ouji at Alfies.

Trio of 1960s silver charms: rhino, moveable crocodile, lucky pig. All from Good Time Antiques at Alfies

1960s silver charms: 9ct penguin charm, horse family, Shi-Tzu dog. Good Time Antiques at Alfies.

1900-1930s silver and gold brooches, parrot with paste stone and goose with enamel detail. Zeeba Jewels - Sormeh Ouji at Alfies.
1900-1920s silver and paste lizard brooches. Zeeba Jewels - Sormeh Ouji at Alfies.


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