Your Weekend Wow!

Beetle wing gowns

Beetle wing gowns

So…would you pay someone to painstakingly sew beetle wings on your best dress? Well, a whole lot of Victorian women did just that.

white-cotton-gauze-dress-embroidered-with-beetle-wings-embroidered-in-india-for-export-ca-1865-ksum-1983-1-98.

Wing cases from Jewel Beetles are naturally a rich, iridescent blue-green. The beetles shed them naturally throughout their lives, which makes for a perfect renewable resource. Clothing and accessories decorated with beetle wing embroidery became a major export item from British India and were extremely fashionable during the Victorian period.

Just imagine the glow under candlelight.

Jewel Beetle wing cases can still be purchased today – just in case you’re inspired.

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7 thoughts on “Your Weekend Wow!

    • Isn’t it amazing? I have some additional photos but, of course, could not locate the files. There are some knockout examples on Pinterest: I was one that was dated in the 1810’s, so it seems they were used for a few decades before the real craze hit the Victorian fashionistas. The latest example I found was a dress from the 1930’s, so that’s over 100 years of beetle-wing embroidery, which is a pretty long run in the world of fashion.

    • I was delighted to find out that they are shed and re-grown. I hated to think of a zillion beetles being killed for the sake of fashion vanity; like the millions of birds that went onto hats in the late 1800’s. You can find bags of Jewel Beetle wings on eBay and on Etsy. In addition to the blue-green, there also seems to be a rarer reddish-gold color, too. Apparently they are a lot sturdier than I originally thought, so I might try a little bit of beetle wing decoration in the future simply to see how it works.

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