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Posted on July 29 2015

The popularity of Peculiar’s Gold Bee Necklace has prompted a look into the historical connotations of this humble creature and its symbolic significance, in the hope of understanding its buzz and popularity, and why this design is literally flying off our shelves (okay okay I'll stop now).

Photo Credit: Jo Thorne for Peculiar Vintage

Bee motifs were originally made fashionable in France circa 1860. Bees were the emblem of Prince Victor Bonaparte - brooches, hat pins, ring and necklaces were adorned with these insects as well as many of the textiles produced. Napoleon even had golden bees sewn into his coronation robe. Bees have long been referenced to a 'collective' sense, theorists have often used the community of bees as a paradigm for human society. 

My favourite is the association with Cupid most notably within art history. In the painting by German artist Lucas Cranach, Cupid is depicted stealing honey from a bees nest. Being stung by the irate bees, he complained to his mother Venus (goddess of love) who simply chastises Cupid: 'There's never sweetness without pain'. The image of Cupid as a Bee is also a part of a complex tradition of poetic imagery involving the flower of youth, the sting of love as a deflowering, and honey as a secretion of love. *Yup.

Unfortunately I have to end this post on a much more sombre note concerning the widespread problem of our native Bees, who are decreasing in vast numbers. Greenpeace posted a strong street art image this year on their Facebook page (with consequential undertones). Please take a minute to read more about them and how you can help http://www.saveourbees.org.uk





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