Posted on August 18, 2014 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Would you wear jewelry made by bugs?
If jewelry made with bugs fossilized in amber piques your interest, then you’ll love the buggy jewelry made by French artist Henry Duprat and his collaborators—Caddisfly larvae. Caddisflies, also called “rail-flies” or “sedge-flies,” create cocoon-like structures to protect and camouflage themselves while they develop into adult flies.
Larvae excrete silk to attach any useful scrap at hand—twigs, sand, debris, etc.—to build their temporary home. Inspired by the habits of these resourceful critters, Duprat hatched a plan. He collected caddisfly larvae and provided them with an aquarium similar to their natural environment—well, sort of. Instead of dirt and gravel, Duprat’s aquarium was filled with scraps of precious metal, pearls, and turquoise.
Duprat titled his collection Trichoptères, the French word for caddisflies.
The bugs set to work and created their armor with the pretty materials they were provided. The result was strangely beautiful—intricate, organic mini sculptures that can be transformed into brooches, beads, and earrings.
Since Duprat began displaying his caddisfly creations in the 1980s, some naturalist jewelers have embarked on similar collaborations with the larvae. Now, jewelry made with caddis fly tubes may be found on various online stores. The examples above represent a few of the many offerings available.
Duprat's bug collaboration sparked a new trend in jewelry.
Caddisfly jewelry is viewed by some as a cruelty-free way to enjoy bug jewelry—especially when compared to live insect jewelry, which involves wearing a bejeweled, oversized living insect as a brooch. While these roaches and beetles can be cared for as pets and treated to a vivarium when not hanging out on your lapel, many animal rights activists protest the practice as cruel. The trend seemed to peak among celebrities in 2006.
While live insect jewelry may continue to be practiced by traditional cultures, including indigenous peoples of the Yucatán, perhaps caddisfly creations will enjoy a spotlight among fashion’s elite.
Photos: Henry Duprat and the Museum of Old and New Art, The Rogue Angler, Jewelry Made by the Caddisfly