When a Pair of Butterfly Cufflinks Moves You to Tears

Is it just me or has September been a banner month for butterfly sightings? I’ve been seeing an awful lot of these little miracles of nature, beloved by so many jewelry creators and sellers. For some reason they’ve never been on my list of late summer/early fall harbingers, but now I’ll be on the lookout for them every year.

This was one of the reasons I wanted to write about the extraordinary cufflinks pictured above, from New Orleans–based jeweler, Aucoin Hart. The design won two prestigious AGTA Spectrum Awards this year: first place for Best Men’s Design and another first-place recognition for Best Design/Use of Color.

The other reason has to do with the design’s inspiration.

“[It] started from observing a beautiful butterfly in our garden in 2016,” designer Donna Marie Aucoin said in a statement. “It was one year prior to that day, that we had lost our precious son Ryan to lymphoma. As my husband and I were in a consoling embrace in our backyard garden, both thinking so deeply about Ryan, this magnificent butterfly fluttered all around us, almost dancing in the air determined to get our attention then landing on a magnolia tree, its bright beautiful wings standing out against the dark green leaves. The butterfly would stay through the night and well into the next day, staying with us and comforting us with so much peace and love.”

The Aucoins believe that the butterfly contained a message from Ryan: “I am fine and I am here. Love to all.”

Aucoin Hart butterfly cufflinks work in progress
The butterfly cufflinks, shown here in various stages of its production, are set with a total of 1,076 gemstones.

From there, Aucoin collaborated with staff master jeweler, David White, to make a pair of cufflinks, which were to be a gift for Aucoin’s husband, Tommy Aucoin Sr. in remembrance of their son.

White worked tirelessly over an 18-month period perfecting and handcrafting the commemorative design. For the full story, you can watch this video produced by the Aucoin Hart team, (but do get a hankie first—you’ll need it).

No, you’re crying…


Top: Butterfly cufflinks with 3.09 cts. t.w. natural sapphires, 2.36 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 1.37 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets in 18k white and yellow gold, Aucoin Hart Jewelers (not for sale)


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All That Glitters writer