Jewellers unleash their animal instincts, put sparkling spins on nature’s adorable creatures

From Cartier’s iconic panther to Van Cleef & Arpels and Chopard’s poetic interpretations of the butterfly, the natural world is an endless source of inspiration for jewellers and watchmakers

Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey Collection. Photo: Chopard

The earliest forms of art, from cave paintings to tribal tattoos, are often reactions to the beauty and snapshots of the natural world. Flora and fauna are some of the oldest subjects in the art world, finding a place of prominence throughout history, be it in Claude Monet’s impressionist take on turkeys or Marc Chagall’s surreal interpretation of drifting goats. 

Panthère de Cartier WG necklace, ring, bracelet pompon and Panthère de Cartier watch. Photo: Cartier

Refined to an intricate art form, watch and jewellery-making tap into these same inspirations, transforming animals’ graceful form and movement into sparkling, wearable art pieces.

Perhaps among the most recognisable is Cartier’s interpretation of the panther. The wild cat motif is the house’s oldest emblem and has been favoured by the likes of movie stars and royals, including the famously fashionable Wallace Simpson. 

Despite the panther’s long history at Cartier, the Maison continues to breathe fresh life into the feline with new renditions each year. From high jewellery pieces to watches and even leather goods, the panther often paved in diamonds with black onyx for spots and emeralds for eyes, is captured many times over in various stages of movement. The house even dedicated an entire watch collection, Panthere de Cartier, to its most beloved feline. 

The colourful butterflies are also a constant muse among jewellers. Chopard, whose co-president and artistic director Caroline Sscheufele is a renowned animal lover, recently launched the Chopard x Mariah Carey collection and the Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey Collection. The collections feature high jewellery and fine jewellery interpretations of the butterfly, respectively. 

The Happy Butterfly x Mariah Carey collection puts the house’s playful dancing diamond in the middle of a butterfly silhouette. 

The butterfly form has had a constant presence at Van Cleef & Arpels. They often appear on the dials of the Maison’s timepieces and are the stars of the Two Butterfly collection. Among the most playful interpretation of this fluttering motif is the Two Butterfly Between the Finger ring, where two of these graceful creatures shimmer with the shine of diamonds and sapphires. 

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