Audrey Botha started this beautiful butterfly wing jewellery range at the beginning of the year. The range supports a butterfly breeding program and by purchasing it you not only do your bit for the environment, you also help provide employment for the families who breed and raise these delicate creatures. Audrey tells us a bit more about herself and the jewellery:
“I’m a graphic designer and illustrator based in Cape Town. I spent 5 years working in London as a senior designer for a number of agencies before returning to South Africa 5 years ago, but I continue to work for an international client base. My specialty is branding and I also do a lot of vector illustration work for clients that meet me through my profile on iStockphoto.com (the world’s leading online micro stock library).
Butterflies have always fascinated me and, coincidentally, I had a jewellery range called Madame Butterfly about 12 years ago which I sold through the Young Designers Emporium. Paul Simon had just started up YDE and my butterfly hair clips were the very first accessories they ever stocked!
When I inherited 2 antique brooches from my grandmother using real butterfly wings which were almost a 100 years old, I became absolutely fascinated as to how you can take something that only lives for 1-4 weeks and immortalise it in a piece of jewellery that can be passed down from generation to generation.
As you can imagine, I did a lot of research on where I could source the butterfly wings from, before finally finding an organisation that manages sustainable breeding farms all over the world. I learnt that agricultural development has caused the natural habitat of a lot of butterfly species to become threatened and their populations started dwindling. Farming programs were therefore started to enable farmers from third world countries to keep the rain forests on their land intact, while still providing a livelihood that paid better than mono-cultural crops. The breeding program enables thousands of butterflies to be bred (the average butterfly lays up to 500 eggs at a time if it’s habitat isn’t threatened). A portion of the butterflies are sold, and in return the tropical forests which are vital to their survival are preserved.
The butterfly wings are set in a sterling silver frame and you can choose to set the wing in glass (we engrave the year of manufacture on these) or acrylic perspex. Some of the wings are magically iridescent and constantly change colour as they interact with light….it is impossible to capture their true beauty on camera! Both the front and back of the wing are visible and these are also usually completely different.
Each pendant is sold in a luxury gift box containing protective sponge with black satin lining. I issue a certificate containing information on the range, the specimen and it’s country of origin as well as instructions on how to care for your pendant.”
Have a look at her website for more information: http://www.papillonbelle.com/