Wings with a Second Life

Wings with a Second Life

Have you ever walked into a Global Gifts store and noticed this lovely jewelry that looks like a painted piece of art? If you take a closer look they are actually a work of nature. They are butterfly wings! Time and again after learning this, our customers' next questions is "Did the butterflies have to die to be made into this jewelry?" The answer is of course no.

Global Gifts vendor Silver Tree Jewelry describes their process below:

"Butterflies are raised as an income generating project during the off season of the Cocoa harvest. Cocoa is harvested in the early part of the year, with the butterflies reaching maturity a few months later. With the fluctuation of cocoa prices on the Peru market, and with the increased likelihood of unrewarding yields due to changing weather systems, the butterflies are a very important income generating resource.

Members of the Shipibo community raise the butterflies in large netted enclosures. When the eggs are laid, and the caterpillars hatch, they are taken out to the jungle to feed on the wild plants and the days are counted. This creates increased biodiversity in the jungle, offering a food source for the animals and birds. When the days are counted, the caterpillars are collected and placed back into the netted enclosures where they pupate. The pupa are cleaned to prevent disease and later hatch into butterflies. The cycle continues, when the butterfly’s life comes to an end it lays 1 to several batches of eggs, then the wings are collected and dried for shipping. They are carried for 2 hours by foot through the jungle to the local village, where they are then transported by boat for several days to Iquitos where they are shipped to our artisans in Lima."

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