For centuries, jewelry designers have looked to the natural world for inspiration. Today, designers craft exquisite jewelry inspired by the animal kingdom. These pieces range from delicate birds flying high in the sky to playful creatures, such as monkeys and smiling pandas. Each piece of animal jewelry showcases the creature in a different way. Some are more abstract, featuring a geometric, gem-set interpretation of an animal. Others are extremely detailed, with hand-carved wings and faces brought to life by glittering gemstones. Our selection of gorgeous animal jewelry is sure to delight even the most discerning collectors.
French maison Boucheron has an extensive range of animal jewelry, called Animaux de Collection. Since 1866, its craftspeople have designed charming and lifelike animal jewelry. Each animal has a playful name and comes in several different styles. For example, Hans the Hedgehog comes in a ring, a bracelet, and even a pendant necklace.
Boucheron Hans, the Hedgehog ring in 18K pink gold with .01 carats ruby and .01 carats diamond, $6,400; Nara, The Doe ring in 18K white gold with 7.35 carats diamond, .38 carats sapphires, and .21 carats onyx, $111,000; Nuri, The Parrot ring in 18K pink gold with .87 carats orange sapphire, .45 carats tsavorite, .34 carats pink sapphire, .3 carats yellow sapphire, and .01 carats diamond, $17,850
The slithering serpent has inspired Bulgari’s designers since the 1940s. It has appeared in both jewelry and watches, from everyday rings to high-jewelry masterpieces. This masterpiece features a snake that coils three times around the wearer’s neck. The snake has more than 60 carats of diamonds, as well as two brilliant emeralds for the eyes. Bulgari Serpenti high-jewelry necklace in 18K white gold with 60.32 carats diamond and 1.23 carats emerald, price on request
Bulgari Serpenti high-jewelry necklace in 18K white gold with 60.32 carats diamond and 1.23 carats emerald, price on request
Temple St. Clair
Perhaps no jeweler today is as associated with animals as Temple St. Clair. The New York-based designer crafts all of her jewelry in Florence, Italy, using traditional techniques and some of the world’s best artisans. Her Golden Menagerie, which was immortalized in a stunning coffee-table book from Assouline, features one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. The high level of craftsmanship is evident in the Falcon trilogy. Their feathers, nests, and eyes are hand-carved, with spinel set on the wings. They are true collectors’ pieces.
Temple St. Clair Landing Falcon ring in 18K yellow gold with 32.30 carats spinel and .51 carats diamond, $135,000; Nesting Falcon ring in 18K yellow gold with 11.65 carats spinel and .23 carats diamond, $135,000; Embracing Falcon ring in 18K yellow gold with 15.79 carats spinel and .55 carats diamond, $135,000
We love this charming panda from Chopard. The body is set with black and white diamonds, and it has a smiling face crafted from black onyx and blue sapphire. At the center, the panda holds a large, round diamond.
Chopard Panda ring in 18K white gold with 12.10 carats diamond, 5.02 carats black diamond, 4.18 carats white diamond, .05 carats blue sapphire, and .04 carats onyx, price on request
Julie Parker for Assael
Assael might be best known for its sensational pearls, but the New York-based house also works with diamonds and other gemstones. This gorgeous necklace features an orangutan and her baby hanging from a baroque Golden South Sea pearl.
Julie Parker for Assael Orangutan pendant in 18K white gold with 9.8 carats diamonds and a 16.9-13mm Golden South Sea cultured pearl, price on request, available at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue
Parisian designer Lydia Courteille focuses each of her collections on a theme, exploring it from every angle. The Caravan collection explored the paths of historic travelers, rendering myths, faraway lands, and treasures in precious gemstones. This ring uses emerald, sapphire, and tanzanite to create a majestic peacock fanning its tail feathers.
Lydia Courteille Peacock ring in 18K gold with diamond, sapphire, emerald, tanzanite, tsavorite, and amethyst, price on request
Italian jeweler Picchiotti takes a different approach to the peacock in this beautiful piece. The brooch features a diamond peacock with a hematite beak fanning its feathers, which are more delicate. Pear-shaped emeralds are set on diamond feathers, swirling out from the peacock’s body. At the center is a stunning pear-shaped emerald. The crowning touch: four yellow-diamond feathers at the top of its head.
Picchiotti Emerald Peacock brooch in 18K white gold with 19.69 carats emerald, 8.91 carats diamond, 1.03 carats fancy yellow diamond, $270,000
Wendy Yue’s stunning craftsmanship is on full display in this Animal Kingdom cuff bracelet. It features a veritable bestiary, with an elephant, zebra, giraffe, and more. Carved gemstones shaped like tropical leaves shade the animals. It’s a truly special piece.
Wendy Yue Animal Kingdom cuff bracelet in 18K blackened gold with 32.57 carats malachite, 23.66 carats champagne diamond, white, black, and yellow diamond, 12.56 carats opal, 5.43 carats tsavorite, 4.85 carats yellow sapphire, 2.05 carats rubellite, 1.10 carats black diamond, .42 carats white sapphire, .03 carats ruby, $68,800
Bibi Van der Velden
While more glamorous animals typically appear in animal jewelry, humble insects also make beautiful pieces. For example, this dragonfly ring from Bibi Van der Velden uses fiery opals and colorful tsavorite as the insect’s wing. The body is hand-engraved in gold and set with white and brown diamonds.
Bibi Van der Velden Dragonfly ring in 18K yellow gold with opal, 2.80 carats white and brown diamonds, 1.29 carats tsavorite, and blue sapphire, price on request