This week I travelled to Lille for probably the largest flea market in Europe; la Braderie. Set in the very heart of Lille, over one million visitors swarm the streets to browse the never-ending stalls that line 200 km of pavements throughout old Lille.
I never have a purpose or a plan when I visit a flea market. An item just has to speak to me before I start a bidding. But after a few purchases a theme emerged; insects and other creepy crawlers. I scored at least 1 fly, 2 beetles, 3 salamanders and a spider. At home I found out that one of the brooches I bought is made of brass and two real insects; cetonia aurata, rose beetle or “gouden tor” in Dutch. And that in the late 1800’s, Darwin’s controversial theories on evolution and new botanical discoveries created a demand for jewelry made to look like animals or insects. Ladies would secure pieces of lace to their ensemble with a multitude of these small pins made to look like butterflies, housflies, beetles, etc.
I even read these beetles were kept alive. What to say about a report that I found on the internet by Abeo;
“I first saw a beetle brooch when I was in Mexico about 10 years ago. It was in a fine jewelry store in one of the shops in the city of Merida, Yucatan. The beetles are highly decorated with pieces of jade, gold, diamonds, silver etc... and they move so slowly that no one can really tell they are alive until they move a bit. They have a small chain that you attack on your clothes. They came with a little box you can store them in, you have to feed them so they won't die on you”
Hmmm, living jewelry, what to make of that?
Parkwolf Jewels, see more/buy at www.parkwolf.exto.nl