Yesterday in Coleoptera Couture…

Because sometimes there are days you know you’ll only truly feel like yourself if you’re wearing a 19th century tiara, necklace, and earrings adorned with iridescent green beetle bodies.

This dazzling set of Victorian adornments is Lady Granville’s beetle parure, an Egyptian-style set of jewelry made in London by the Phillips Brothers in 1884-1885.

The tiara, necklace, and earrings are each made of gold and designed with a lotus motif. In the place of gemstones, each piece is inlaid with brilliant iridescent green beetles, specifically Lamprocyphus augusts, a species of weevil found in Brazil and Argentina.

Made in 1884-5 for Castalia Rosalind, Countess Granville (1847-1938), second wife of the 2nd Earl Granville. In 1884, Lord Granville (1815-91), as Foreign Secretary, concluded the Anglo-Portuguese trade treaty regarding the Congo river basin. According to family tradition, the Portuguese ambassador wished to mark the treaty by presenting a piece of beetle jewellery to Lady Granville. Lord Granville refused this offer but permitted his wife to accept the beetles, which he then had mounted for her. The parure descended in the Granville family. It was purchased by Wartski, London, in 2011 and sold in 2013 to the Hawkins family, antique dealers of London and Tasmania.

Housed in their original case, made of leather-covered, steam-pressed wood with silk lining and gold printing on the inside of the lid which reads: ‘Phillips, 23 Cockspur St, London,’ Lady Granville’s beetle parure is housed at the British Museum.

Sadly these treasures aren’t currently on display, but by now we’re all wearing them in our imaginations anyway, so perhaps that doesn’t matter.

[via The British Museum on Instagram]

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