I actually like bugs. As a child, I raised caterpillars to see the beautiful butterflies they became. I even tried to build myself ant farms - but these were dismal failures because I never found the queen ants.

Katie VanBlaricum of Aquakej on Etsy shared the same childhood fascination I had for insects. She also collected insects, read tons of insect field guides and even had a closet museum.

Like me, she took an entomology (the study of insects) course in college. But unlike me, she learned how to professionally display bugs and went on to create her unique Insect Art collection which includes jewelry.

Shown above is one of her gorgeous moth wing necklaces. Below is her real leaf and metallic flower beetle OOAK (one of a kind) earrings. Real leaves were dipped in sterling silver.

Her Victorian style Gold Beetle Ring below features a gold Rutelid beetle which has a natural shiny finish and hence these insects are sometimes called shining beetles. There are many beetles in her collection probably because there are so many species of beetles (about 400,000) and a lot of them everywhere. Beetles constitute about 40% of all insects and 25% of all known life-forms.

These weevils are the perfect match for her verdigris patinaed copper hair pins!

Although she calls her insect jewelry "Living Jewels", the insects are very much dead. She buys dried insects which have to be rehydrated and spread out properly. She says, "They provide a living for the people who farm or catch them, and give those people a motivation to preserve their habitat." 

Flower Beetle Victorian Tie Clip

The late Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin was her hero and she feels she is continuing his mission to "help the world understand and love creatures that aren't cute or fuzzy". Well, I totally get it. But then I always did from way back when.

Other insect inspirations:



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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM