Life in the Facet Lane by diana jarrett

It’s interesting to observe how certain motifs in jewelry transcend time and fashion, turning up time and again especially in original designer collections. Take hummingbirds for instance. We can find this design element referred to often throughout the ages.

Taking a Cue from Nature These miniature creatures are in themselves much like petite jewels. Hummingbirds are festooned

Victorian Ladies earrings with taxidermied hummingbird head, c. 1865.

with the most extraordinarily colorful jewel-toned feathers all wrapped into one tiny package. The smallest of these avian species may measure a mere 3-5 inches when fully grown. The minute Bee Hummingbird, native to Cuba, is only 2 inches in length, weighing in at a whopping .07 oz.—less than a dime. Jewels indeed.

So, small wonder that designers find these diminutive creatures to be a perfect muse for their original creations. In Victorian times, an odd obsession evolved for actual (taxidermied) hummingbird heads used as the main ‘jewel’ for aristocratic ladies’  earrings and other tiny jewelry items. While that seems quite odd now, it was all the rage with high society ladies.

Today, thankfully, we can get that same rush for hummingbirds by simply creating their darling form in jewelry—and many designers do it so gracefully.

Modern Interpretations Mark Loren, of Ft. Myers-based Mark Loren Designs shares his hummingbird pendant carved from

Hummingbird carved in Mintabie opal with diamond, emerald and
Paraiba Tourmaline accents in 14K yellow gold; Courtesy Mark Loren Designs.

a rainbow-like opal piece— the perfect material for a hummingbird carving, as these actual birds’ feathers are known for their iridescent sheen.


Rainforest Designs, based in the Panamanian rainforests, creates jewelry celebrating that unique part of the world where these pieces are made. So, the tropical flora and fauna dominating each carving, reveals life in this exotic part of the world, including their carved hummingbird on a hibiscus plant. These miniscule treasures are art imitating life, and we’re not
likely to ever lose our fascination with them.

Tiny objects can covey powerfully big stories. Happy collecting!


Contact Diana Jarrett at and read

Hummingbird on Hibiscus sterling silver pendant with 18K yellow gold: Courtesy Rain forest Designs

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