Autumn is associated with many icons, like leaves and skulls, ranging from seasonally sophisticated to marvelously macabre. One of the most unexpected icons of this season, though, appears to be the butterfly.
My colleague Amy Elliott expressed the same surprise when she shared this exquisite pair of cufflinks by Aucoin Hart late last month.
The butterfly is a ready figure in the jewelry industry, commonly found throughout many different eras and almost always available in retail stores (check your stock, do you have at least one pendant, brooch, or ring?). And yet, when a really great creation or collection dedicated to the butterfly is unveiled, it can still take you by surprise.
That describes the Freedom collection by Jane Winchester. Inspired by the independence of the butterfly, the designer created these pieces to encourage wearers to follow suit—to be free.
What to be free from will vary from person to person, of course. Personally, I’d like to be free from worry; a piece from this line could be worn as a reminder to try harder at that. This would be great for a customer nursing (or celebrating?) a breakup. This would be a fantastic gift for a daughter going off to college or starting a new job.
To be honest, I’ve never been big on the butterfly. Mariah Carey claimed it as her own back in the late ’90s, and it became sort of undesirable to me after that (I don’t even know why, since I actually liked Mariah Carey). But now I’m coming around—it’s hard not to be intrigued when the creatures are at the center of good design. I can easily see any of these pieces worn on a chain with other charms, or alone in a layer of golden necklaces, and I think the original butterfly coin design—the item that spurred this collection—is divine.
September is actually a peak time for butterflies, at least according to a gardening blog I’ve fallen into (never thought I’d say that). So their association with the autumn season isn’t out of left field, despite their figures commonly represented in brightly colored attire in the spring and summer. Actually, I find autumn’s color theme to be perfect for the butterfly—especially if you’re picturing something like a monarch, in its glorious orange and black.
“This season I took the motif from the Freedom coin and built a collection around it,” says Winchester of her new collection. “The butterfly from our Free design is freed from the coin to stand alone with mother-of-pearl and semiprecious stones in 10 karat gold. Butterflies embody the confidence that comes with the spirit of the fall season. We loved working with the semiprecious stones to bring color to our coin collection—just a touch of something special to layer with your Jane Winchester gold coins.”
Top: Freedom collection butterfly pendants in 10k yellow gold with (l.–r.): carved turquoise and citrine; carved lapis and green citrine; pink tourmaline; carved jade and pink tourmaline; carved malachite and citrine, $278–$498Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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