Bugs on the Brain: Colette Steckel’s Cute Infestation

Fifteen-year jewelry design veteran Colette Steckel of
Colette Jewelry has been a part-time entomologist since childhood. Collecting
mainly beetles, the artist with home bases in Mexico City and Los Angeles calls
her insect finds “intricate rare little creatures with amazing colors,” she
explained in an email interview this week. “And the idea of human beings being
vulnerable to them fascinates me,” she added.

So enthralling are some bugs that Steckel was inspired to
create jewels in their likeness.

Introduced at Couture last year, the Bestioles collection
features 18k pink, grey, and yellow gold with labadorite, moonstone,
tourmalines, and colorless, champagne, and multicolor diamonds. For this year’s
show, she unveiled a full line of 20 different bug SKUs. All have a vintage
feel and “an edgy, powerful look,” Steckel says, adding that she “enjoys creating
the pieces.” While 20 U.S. stores currently carry her work, the designer says
all of the orders placed at Couture 2011 contained pieces from the Bestioles collection.
Suggested retail prices start at $950 for a ladybug.

The king of the collection is a massive beetle pendant
necklace that could easily be mistaken for a fly. Steckel picked up the carcass
in Versailles garden, and handcarved a piece of labradorite herself to make
the body, finishing it off with 2.70 cts. t.w. colorless diamonds for $17,600.
See it in person at the Colette store in Mexico City.

Colette Jewelry is represented by Fragments in New York
City. To see more bug jewels, check out “A Bug’s Life” in the June 2011 issue of JCK.


Colette Jewelry's gold and diamond beetle necklace

A beetle pendant necklace in 18k gold with carved labradorite and 2.70 cts. t.w. diamonds was inspired by a bug Colette Steckel found in Versailles garden; $17,600.

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