Spilla in oro a forma di ape con diamanti bianchi, neri e gialli, zaffiri. Copyright: gioiellis.com
Piovan, spilla in oro a forma di ape con diamanti bianchi, neri e gialli, zaffiri. Copyright: gioiellis.com

The meaning of animal-shaped jewelry

Animal-shaped jewelery has always been a recurring motif in jewellery. And they also have hidden meanings, that’s what they are.

Animals have always been an inspiring motif in jewelry. Not only that: each animal also offers a hidden or symbolic meaning. In short, anyone who wears a jewel in the shape of an animal communicates something. The Flamingo brooch of Cartier that belonged to the Duchess of Windsor has made history, like the panther in all its versions. The secreted turtles and the embroidered wings of Buccellati birds are objects of art. While the cartoon-style animals of Van Cleef & Arpels designed in 1954 for a young audience and revived half a century later, they soon became classics, so much so that they induced Grace of Monaco, Jacqueline Onassis and the Parisian upper class bourgeoisie to collect them.

Anello animalier di Leo Pizzo
Ring from the animalier line by Leo Pizzo. Copyright: gioiellis.com

Even the gold fish with the flexible tail and the ruby ​​eyes of Jean Schlumberger is a milestone in jewelry, which for Tiffany has designed beautiful shells. And what about the snake of Bulgari? Since 1977 it is one of the most sold subjects of the brand. And again lions, frogs, bears, caterpillars, crabs and chameleons: the animal theme has always inspired the great jewelers (Vhernier, de Grisogono, Leo Pizzo, Chantecler always include them in their collections) and wins over customers.

For example, Diana Vreeland who fashioned it (she was the legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar) required her editors to insert a snake into the articles and she herself wore jewels with this shape. But one of his favorites was the gold zebra bracelet, black and white enamel and diamonds, one of David Webb’s masterpieces, the quintessence of American jewelry. And there are many designers who are infected by this theme (as you can see from this gallery), even the most avant-garde ones. Here is a selection of the most creative, to keep an eye on.

The meaning of animal-shaped jewelry

Bee. These insects are associated with industriousness, organizational capacity, and in some way rationality. Bees are a good example to follow. But in the past, bees were also a sign of knowledge, wisdom and, in the Middle Ages, bees were a symbol of purity and even the spiritual world.

Delfina Delettrez: anello Ape in oro giallo 9 carati e smalto giallo e nero con una perla d'acqua dolce
Delfina Delettrez: Ape ring in 9k yellow gold and yellow and black enamel with a freshwater pearl

Eagle. A bird that is a symbol of courage and pride. It is no coincidence that the eagle has been widely used in heraldry and has become part of the coats of arms of many states, even in the two-headed version. Strength, speed, audacity: the eagle has retained this symbolism which comes directly from ancient Greek mythology.

Il bracciale spirato al tema dell’aquila è realizzato in oro, tasvorite, diamanti bianchi, gialli e brown, smeraldi (oltre 18 carati)
Youra Jewelry: the bracelet inspired by the eagle theme is made of gold, tasvorite, white, yellow and brown diamonds, emeralds (over 18 carats)

Dog. Loyalty, dedication, friendship: the dog does not betray and keeps its love for its master-partner intact over the years. Do we need to add anything else?

Van Cleef & Arpels, spilla cane
Van Cleef & Arpels, dog brooch

Snail. It is highly appreciated in the jewelry world for its spiral shell shape. True, the snail is slow. Precisely for this reason it has also become the symbol of those who do not want to adapt to the frenetic everyday routine. Furthermore, they also symbolize the ability to be self-sufficient: they always carry their home with them.

Ciondolo a forma di lumaca in oro bianco e alessandrite
Snail-shaped pendant in white gold and alexandrite

Swan. Elegant, but also pure. The swan has been associated with an innocent and delicate femininity. But also sensual, as evidenced by the myth of Leda seduced by Jupiter in the form of a swan. And, be careful: when swans get angry they can become dangerous.

Collezione Animal World, il Cigno nero
Animal World collection, the Black Swan by Master Exclusive Jewellery

Dolphin. Intelligent and friendly animals, they are associated with the sea, with freedom. Not only that: symbolically, dolphins are also indicated as the heirs, at least according to the history of France before the Revolution of the late eighteenth century.

Ciondolo delfino in oro 14 carati
Dolphin pendant in 14k gold

Butterfly. One of the most used models in jewelry: light, beautiful and (perhaps) elusive. A bit like how many women describe themselves, even if the butterfly also retains the idea of fleetingness and delicacy. Many jewelry designers have tried their hand at this symbol of sophistication.

Butterfly Collection, versione con piccoli diamanti e oro
Sicis, Butterfly Collection, version with small diamonds and gold

Rooster. If you have a rooster-shaped jewel it means that you like the strong courage of the male who imposes his strength and personality in the midst of the female world. But it may simply be its colorful feathers that make you appreciate this animal.

Roberto Coin, anello per l'anno del Gallo
Roberto Coin, ring for the year of the rooster

Cat. He is adored at home and many women who love their cat would like to have him always on their lap purring. It is inevitable that this astute, noble, independent and adorable pet was among the most represented in jewelry.

Spilla di Fabergé con diamanti, zaffiri rosa e tormalina
Fabergé cat-shaped brooch with diamonds, pink sapphires and tourmaline

Owl or owl. This bird in ancient Greece was the symbol of the goddess Minerva. He is considered a symbol of wisdom and cunning, while his ability to see in the dark has associated him with the concept of foresight: a quality that, unfortunately, is very rare in common life.

Alta orologeria: bracciale Gufo in oro bianco etico 18 carati, con diamanti taglio brillante e trapezio, zaffiri multicolori taglio trapezio
Fine watchmaking: Owl bracelet in 18k ethical white gold, with brilliant-cut and trapezoid-cut diamonds, multi-coloured trapezoid-cut sapphires by Chopard

Lion. Everyone knows the symbolism linked to the lion: pride, nobility, but also strength and the desire to impose oneself on others. A jewel in the shape of a lion, of course, can also indicate belonging to the zodiac sign that falls in mid-summer.

José Maria Goñi, spilla a forma di leone in oro, smeraldi, diamanti bianchi, gialli e champagne. Copyright: gioiellis.com
José Maria Goñi, lion-shaped brooch in gold, emeralds, white, yellow and champagne diamonds. Copyright: gioiellis.com

Panther. One of the classics of jewelry, which has become a motif that distinguishes Cartier with its Panthère line. Cunning, strength, sensuality and the ability to surprise are the characteristics associated with this feline. In ancient times the panther was considered an almost perfect animal and, surprisingly, with an intense scent.

Anello in oro bianco, con 365 diamanti taglio brillante, 255 carati, smeraldi, onice. Prezzo: 60.000 euro
Cartier, Panthere ring in white gold, with 365 brilliant-cut diamonds, 255 carats, emeralds, onyx

Peacock. It is an exotic animal, more widespread in Asia and, in its male version, the one with the large tail of colored feathers, associated with the concept of regal beauty. In Hinduism, the Indian peacock is the mount of the god of war, Kartikeya, and the warrior goddess Kaumari, and is also depicted around the goddess Santoshi.

Spilla piuma di pavone in titanio, con spinelli, giada bianca, smeraldi, diamanti.
Peacock feather brooch in titanium, with spinels, white jade, emeralds, diamonds by Osi Vitoria. Copyright: gioiellis.com

Scarab. This small insect was favored and venerated by the ancient Egyptians, who credited it with magical virtues. Now it is no longer worshiped, but on the other hand it is considered a lucky charm.

Aurélie Bidermann. orecchini Scarabeo in oro giallo 18 carati, rubini, zaffiri, diamanti bianchi, ametiste e tzavoriti
Aurélie Bidermann. Scarabeo earrings in 18k yellow gold, rubies, sapphires, white diamonds, amethysts and tsavorites

Monkey. The animal most similar to the human race, at least in one aspect: monkeys are vain as well as mischievous. A jewel that has the appearance of a monkey plays precisely on these two aspects.

Anello Scimmia, oro, tsavoriti granati, zaffiri arancioni, ametiste e diamanti
Carrera Y Carrera, Monkey ring, gold, garnet tsavorites, orange sapphires, amethysts and diamonds

Snake. Snake-shaped jewels are among the most famous of high jewellery. The association of this animal with the concept of sin is inevitable, according to the biblical story. But not only that: the snake is also cunning and, when used in jewellery, often takes the shape of a spiral, also a symbol of spirituality and knowledge.

Il celebre bracciale serpente, in versione orologio
Bulgari, the famous snake bracelet, in a watch version

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

All about garnet

Next Story

Neha Dani, rhodium, titanium and fireworks

Latest from Showroom