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Butterfly Jewelry – What Does It Symbolize?

Butterfly symbolism guide

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Delicate butterflies lend a whimsical flair to some of the most unique jewelry pieces. We’re often enchanted by their vibrant colors and graceful movements and there are incredible myths and legends behind them. Butterflies also have different symbolisms in different cultures throughout the world and have been used in jewelry for years.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at butterfly jewelry and the symbolism behind it.

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Butterfly Jewelry Symbolism

Butterfly necklace and pendant

As we’ve mentioned before, butterfly jewelry has diverse meanings which vary from culture to culture. Here are some of the most well-known symbolisms of this beautiful creature:

Metamorphosis and Change

The symbolism of butterflies varies from culture to culture, but it’s generally seen as a symbol of transformation. The butterfly begins its life as a caterpillar, hibernates in a cocoon and finally turns into a beautiful butterfly. For some, it’s a totem animal to call when you need support in dealing with changes in life.

This beautiful winged creature can also represent the struggles that someone would have to face in life to be a better person. If you want to mark an important milestone in your life or if you’re simply looking for a reminder of your personal growth and progress in life, butterfly jewelry would be the perfect choice for you.

Love and Romance

When we think of butterflies, we often come up with ideas of love. There’s also a saying that ‘falling in love gives you butterflies’. However, this has stemmed from much deeper meaning and symbolism.

In Japanese culture, butterflies are symbolic of marital bliss and in China there’s a legend that tells of a young man who met his true love by chasing a butterfly in a garden. In the West, there’s a wedding tradition of releasing butterflies, wishing happiness and love for the newlywed couple. For these reasons, butterfly jewelry such as engagement rings and wedding bands are perfect for symbolizing a loving relationship.

A Symbol of Good Luck

In Han culture, the term butterfly is pronounced as ‘hú dié’, in which the first character has a similar sound to ‘fú’ for ‘good fortune’. The creature is seen as a symbol of good luck and is popular in jewelry designs, paintings, crafts and even buildings.

The second character ‘dié’ is similar to the sound of the Chinese character for ‘the elders’, making butterflies a representation of a long life. If you want to attract luck and celebrate long life, a pair of butterfly earrings or necklace is a stylish and meaningful choice.

A Symbol of Hope

Butterflies are one of the most symbolic insects often viewed as a metaphor for hope. In Celtic culture, it’s seen as a guide for making better choices when life presents second chances. Butterfly jewelry can be a great gift for someone facing difficulties in life, since it can give them hope and help them to look forward to wonderful things that are yet to come.

A butterfly engagement ring might not be a conventional choice—but it’ll surely capture the heart of a bride-to-be! In fact, it’s the perfect romantic symbol for a loving relationship and commitment of couple to one another. However, the design may be as challenging to catch as the creature itself.

Still, it’s possible to find ring designs with butterflies around the center stone or even engravings on the band. An engagement ring with butterflies on the sides, incorporated into the setting to hold a central stone is a simple and subtle choice you could go for. In some instances, it isn’t just a decorative element, but the focal point of the ring, studded with diamonds and precious stones.

The design of the ring should reflect the uniqueness of the bride-to-be. Unless you’ve got a colorful, flamboyant style, it would be better to stick to diamonds or single-colored gemstones, instead of stones with flashy colors.  

For spring and summer weddings, butterfly motifs are a lovely, romantic choice! You’ll have a wide variety of interesting butterfly-themed jewelry for your bridesmaids as well including hair clips, charm bracelets, pendant necklaces, dangling earrings and studs. Another great option for earrings would be butterflies fashioned from gemstones or filigree style dangle earrings since these look romantic and elegant.

Make everything cohesive on your wedding day with an artisan wedding cake featuring colorful sugar butterflies. If you want to channel your inner garden goddess, opt for butterfly-embroidered gown and winged shoes, as well as a mix of petals and wings cascading down your hair. Whether you’re into subtle accents or on-the-spotlight focus, butterflies will add a dash of romance to the occasion.

Butterfly Jewelry in Fashion

Trends will come and go, but butterfly jewelry remains timeless and meaningful as well as stylish and versatile. In fact, they’re perfect for casual and formal outfits, whether you’re just wearing T-shirt and jeans or a cocktail dress. It’s an excellent choice that works for all occasions.

Butterfly tree of life necklace

Butterfly Tree of Life Pendant by Spot Light Jewelry. See it here.

Some jewelry designers feature butterfly motifs in their silver and gold jewelry, from minimalist to statement designs. There are a wide variety of colors that can be easily matched with almost any color scheme.

Some butterfly jewelry pieces tend to look more sophisticated than feminine, making them professional and chic for office wear. If you prefer understated jewelry, consider dainty pendant and stud designs instead of colorful, enameled pieces.

Types of Butterfly Jewelry

Butterfly jewelry makes a beautiful and unique addition to any jewelry collection and it goes with just about anything. Here are some popular butterfly jewelry designs available on the market today:

Butterfly Earrings

Two tone butterfly earrings

Butterfly Earrings by Gianni Deloro. See them here.

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll most probably love butterfly earrings in filigree design, showcasing the creature’s beautiful wing patterns. There are also classic designs decorated with diamonds, precious stones and even pearls. These are perfect for everyday wear and special occasions.

Butterfly Necklaces

Butterfly necklace gold

Gold Butterfly Necklace by Ephesus Jewelry Store. See it here.

A butterfly pendant necklace studded with diamonds is a great choice if you’re going for an elegant look. However, if you want something trendier, opt for longer necklaces you can wear over your sweater, dress or shirt. They’re also great for layering with other necklaces and you don’t have to spend too much time trying to mix and match styles.

Butterfly Brooches

Butterfly brooch

Victorian Style Butterfly Brooch by Adastra Silver Jewelry. See it here.

Butterfly brooches are traditionally worn on the left side of a jacket or coat, but many people today tend to have them clustered on the collar, as well as on hats and handbags. They’re also highly popular as part of the bridal ensemble since many brides are choosing to wear them on their wedding day.

Butterfly Bracelets

Blue topaz butterfly bracelet

Blue Topaz Butterfly Bracelet by Cimvole. See it here.

We often think of charm bracelets when we think of butterflies, but these are also available in minimalist and elegant styles. Some designs feature colorful gems perfectly arranged to look like a butterfly, while others are decorated with seashells to give the piece a mosaic effect.

Butterfly Rings

Butterfly ring

Unique Diamond Butterfly Ring by Guy Gross Jewelry. See it here.

A butterfly ring makes a thoughtful gift, whether it’s for a best friend, a special someone, or simply for yourself. Colorful gemstones and enameled designs are excellent for adding a pop of color to an outfit, while diamond studded butterfly designs can be a great choice for an engagement ring.

Butterfly Hair Accessories

Butterfly hairpin

Moonstone Butterfly Hairpin by Fritecrafts. Check price here.

If you want to add some color and fun to your style, consider dressing your hair up with a butterfly hairpin. It can be a stylish choice for bridesmaids, as well a playful accessory for anyone going for a trendy look. There are even designs crafted from precious metals and stones, which would look gorgeous in your hair.

Butterfly Symbolism in History

The butterfly has played a role in mythologies of several cultures, which contribute to some of its modern symbolisms. Since the ancient times, it was regarded as the symbol of the human soul. While its symbolism adapts over time, it remains relevant to its ancient meaning.

In Ancient Greek Culture

The Greek term for ‘butterfly’ is ‘psyche’, which means ‘soul’. This isn’t surprising since the beautiful winged creature has been associated with the classical mythology of ‘Cupid and Psyche’, which narrates their love story, marriage and how they overcame obstacles.

In Native American Culture

The Aztecs in Mexico also believed that butterflies were the souls of the dead. Some even associate the creatures with the morning star. Some believe that these creatures would visit their loved ones, so bouquets of fragrant flowers are reserved for them. In fact, there’s a tradition of smelling flowers from the side—not from the top, so there would be fragrance left for the butterflies that came visiting.

The Hopi people believe that a wish whispered to a butterfly will be granted once the creature flies up to the sky. They even have a Butterfly Dance ceremony petitioning for rain, good health and long life. In some Native American tribes, the creature carries different meaning depending on its color. Generally, white butterflies symbolize good luck, while the black variety is regarded as a bad omen.

In European Culture

In Germany, butterflies were believed to be the souls of children. During the 1600s in Ireland, killing white butterflies was prohibited due to the same belief. In Irish folklore, it’s said that these creatures are symbolic of creation and transformation, and possess the ability to cross into the ‘other’ world.

In 19th-century Europe, butterfly motifs became popular in mourning jewelry. This stemmed from the belief that the creature represents the soul, associating it with human growth, death and the heavens. Eventually, butterfly jewelry became a love token and fashion of beauty, given as a keepsake to a loved one.

In Christianity

In some Christian beliefs, the butterfly is associated with resurrection. Some compare the creature’s three periods of life—the caterpillar, the chrysalis and the butterfly—which have a connection with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some also associate the butterfly with spiritual transformation.

Wrapping Up

Butterflies are one of the most magical creatures that have inspired art, fashion and jewelry design. As a symbol of love, hope and good luck, they’re an ideal choice in fashion, and wedding jewelry, especially engagement rings. The creature’s metamorphosis, from a caterpillar to a beautiful winged insect, continues to be an inspiration for fashion and jewelry designers around the world.