Marked Art Deco Butterfly Wing Earrings
Although jewelry made of insects has ancient roots, some of the more distinctive and beautiful pieces have a more recent origin. Such is the case with butterfly wing jewelry.
The Morpho butterfly is covered in shimmering iridescent shades of blue and green. The colors vary depending upon the angle from which viewed. The 1920s through the 1930s was the golden era for butterfly wing jewelry. Captured from South American rain forests, the butterflies were sent to England where they were transformed into this form of magical jewels by only a very few English firms.
A two element articulated design of sterling silver sets the groundwork for a brilliant blue color. The surmount consists of a teardrop shape joined to a modified palmette form—all accented with beads and twisted rope design. Attached with an “O” fitting is a closed back saw toothed rectangular setting of sterling silver. Encased within and covered with a convex glass dome are wings of the Morpho butterfly.
Condition: Excellent; modern silver ear wires have replaced the screw back ear fittings. The wires were made to sit upright on the ear with a small space between the bend on the earring.
Hallmarks: TLM (Thomas L. Mott), STERLING, ENGLAND
Measurements: 1-3/8 inches (2.5 cm) in length by just shy of 3/8 of an inch (1.8 cm) in width. This pair of earrings has a weight of 3 grams.
Date & Origin: Circa 1930 and is English in origin.
Historical Notes: This type of jewelry became fashionable in 1924 when the firm of Thomas L. Mott (TLM) exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition. Held in Wembley, London, the purpose of the BEE was to “to stimulate trade, to strengthen the bonds that bind the Mother Country to her Sister States and Daughter Nations, to bring all into closer touch, the one with the other, to enable all who owe allegiance to the British Flag to meet on common ground, and to learn to know each other.”