Naturally Cool: Animal Jewelry and Accessories and Their Significance

by Alexander Baran
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One of the sweetest new trends springing up in recent seasons is the animal motif; from graphic t-shirts, to party dress trim, and especially jewelry and accessories, furry fascinating creatures seem to be the subject of modern fashion fancy these days.  And the history of nature’s creatures in jewelry in particular may actually surprise a great many young trendsetters, as necklaces, talisman’s, and all form of piercing jewelry have been awash with animal drawings and parts since ancient times.  Jewelry like breast plates, head dresses, necklaces, and later earrings, labret plugs, lip plates, and nose jewelry are all known to have been made from the teeth, bones, hides, ears, and claws of animals that were hunted for food or found dead of natural causes.  Some of these animals, including buffalo, big cats, bears, rabbits, boar, wolves, and certain birds and sea creatures, still figure prominently in jewelry today.

The symbolism behind the animals we choose to wear parts or representations of also adds an extra element of cultural cool.  Wolves and owls for example, represent wisdom and deep knowledge of the universe, while many other birds like swallows and peacocks symbolize freedom, uniqueness, and breaking away from pack mentality.  And jungle cats of course signify power, prowess, sensuality, and strength.

Modern animal fashion, though removed from most traditional significance of these animals, still holds its own history and symbolism.  Though the movement began as far back as the nineties, with purses in the shape of kitty cats and hoodies topped with cartoon face graphics and teddy bear ears, the latest animalistic fashion has trended toward more realistic depictions.  Just ask London designer Reid Peppard, who released an entire line of accessories made from (hazard a guess?) roadkill.  Re-purposing dead rodents and pigeons into things of beauty like coin purses, hats, and necklaces seems to feed her fancy, and certainly puts a new (if slightly controversial) spin on the animal motif trend.

For anyone who aims for an eclectic, meaningful, and hip style out in the everyday world, animal items are definitely an excellent addition in clothing accessories, and jewelry, adding that special something, that will clearly never truly go out of style.

by Alexander Baran

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