A pair of 19th Century demantoid garnet, diamond, ruby and gold, beetle and bee , sit on their naturalistic gold branches with diamond and demantoid garnet details forming a pair of cufflinks. Symbol of thrift and industry, the bee is mentioned frequently in literature, from Shakespeare’s ‘Where the bee sucks, there suck I’, to the verse by Isaac Watts: How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! From Against Idleness and Mischief, 1715 Informed that bees were scattered all over the mantle covering the corpse of Clovis, King of the Franks (d.458 AD), the Emperor Napoleon adopted this symbol as his badge, in contrast to the lilies of the Bourbon kings.
For the Egyptians the scarab or dung beetle, symbolising regeneration and creation, was sacred to the sun god, and because of this significance it was always the most popular element in Egyptian jewellery. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 scarabs and other types of beetle came into fashion. They were richly set with precious stones and were popular as watches and brooches.