accessories report: a bug’s life

When you think of creepy crawlers, “pretty” probably isn’t the first word to cross your mind. You may instead think of itchy, scary, or even menacing in the most extreme cases. But this season you’d better banish that arachnophobia and aversion to all things six-legged because insects are in. Thanks to a handful of designers, spiders have shed their scary in favor of a more elegant, gemstone-encrusted appearance. Bumblebees have been spotted buzzing about earlobes, caterpillars are inching their way up lapels, and beetles are even clambering over fingertips. This summer season bugs are beautiful.

Click to enlarge. Antique Silver Scarab Pin, $395; Matte Gold Scarab Earrings, $225; Matte Gold Scarab Bracelet, $425; Matte Gold Scarab Pin, $395

Alexis Bittar is possibly my favorite jewelry designer ever. His pieces feature luxurious blends of old-world beauty and modern appeal. These scarab pieces from Bittar’s O’keefe collection are no exception — they evoke images of ancient Egyptian scarabs and jewels fit for a mighty pharaoh, while still maintaining a modern quality that allows any of these gems to be easily transitioned into your own wardrobe. My personal favorite, the matte gold cuff, would look great worn high on the arm with a sleeveless black maxi dress.

Click to enlarge. Caterpillar brooch, $128; 22 Karat gold-plated enameled caterpillar brooch, $105; caterpillar brooch featuring Swarovski crystals, $128

Kenneth Jay Lane often incorporates flora and fauna into his jewelry collections, taking an ordinary animal and transforming into a glorious spectacle with a generous helping of gems and crystals. His exploration of caterpillars is one of my favorites because until him I had never imagined these squishy, worm-like creatures could be something I desperately wanted to wear.

Click to enlarge. Crystal Insect Clip Earrings, $350; 24-karat gold-plated crystal bug brooch, $295; Jeweled Insect Cuff Bracelet, $595; Multicolor Dragonfly Brooch, $250

Leave it to the legendary de la Renta to do the impossible task of making a fruit fly into a gorgeous work of art worthy of being encased as part of a MoMA art exhibit. While the fly brooch is my absolute favorite — I would die to wear that even for one day — the rest of Oscar’s insect-themed pieces are just as glamorous, featuring bold shades of ruby and emerald and thousands of sparkles. What I like best about his collection is that he took less of a literal approach with the insects, so that they are a bit abstracted.

Click to enlarge. Caledonia bug ring, $78; Caledonia bug stud earrings, $78; Caledonia twisted necklace, $448

Even the princess of prep, Kate Spade, is trying her hand at the critter trend this season with a whimsical take on the beetle. The simple combination of gold and white creates an elegant, graceful feeling, contrasted with the quirkiness of the bug. And look closely at the Caledonia twisted necklace — the clasp is a little gold and white beetle. Too cute!


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