Butterfly Jewelry: Wings with a Second Life

Butterfly Jewelry: 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.

In the Amazon jungle, the Shipibo indigenous community struggles to maintain their traditional customs. To make ends meet, the younger population must often leave their native land to find work in the city, as the cocoa harvest only lasts through the early months of the year. They end up working for dangerous, illegal mining companies with low pay, long hours, and a high mortality rate.  

Silver Tree Designs is a fair trade organization that provides a sustainable income to this population. Butterflies native to the Amazon are raised during the off-season of the cocoa harvest, and as they complete their natural life cycle, their wings are collected and turned into brilliant one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. As the caterpillars hatch, they are taken out into the jungle to feed on the wild plants while increasing the jungle’s biodiversity. The wings are cut, pressed between glass making the piece reversible, and then framed in silver.  

The Amazon jungle is illegally logged for mahogany, but this vital source of income helps protect the tribal lands and ensure the future of the indigenous community. Artisans receive a salary, a flexible schedule, an annual bonus, paid sick and vacation time, and overtime pay. 



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