Natural beauty immortalised in natural beauty, here are some of the most loved creatures in the world of haute joaillerie.

As brave as a lion; as graceful as a swan; as happy as a lark; as proud as a peacock. The animal kingdom has long captured the awe and revere of mankind with its rich tapestry of colours, forms and beauty.

It is no brainer that the most renowned jewellery houses have looked to them for inspiration in some of their most breathtaking pieces. Natural beauty immortalised in natural beauty – it only makes sense.

Some animals have also transcended beyond just being motifs to become icons of certain maisons. We’ll bet good money we know what you’re thinking of at the mention of Cartier and Bulgari.

Here are some of the most loved creatures in the world of haute joaillerie.

Cartier and its panther

First prancing into the scene in 1914 in the form of a panther spot-motiffed wristwatch, Cartier’s panther first came to Louis Cartier mused by a Parisian lady by the name of Jeanne Toussaint, nicknamed ‘The Panther’. She would later become the maison’s own creative director of high jewellery in 1933. The first full collection was created on the graceful and powerful feline following both their visits to Kenya, a trip that saw them becoming among the first Europeans to embark on a safari tour to the wild jungles of Africa.

Bulgari and its serpent

The serpent has struck fear and respect across as many cultures in as many centuries. Bulgari celebrates this initial temptation of women by turning it into a symbol of powerful attraction and desire with its Serpenti collection. Boldly elegant, the slitering form of the snake has also allowed the maison to showcase its skill in crafting pieces that beautiful slither up collarbones and wrists, slumber coyly on fingers and hang seductively off ears. The serpent has certainly found a precious incarnation in Bulgari’s most alluring signature collection.

Chanel and its lion

The lion can be summed up in one word – regal. One can choose to fear the king of the jungle, chase it, conquer it. Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel chose to tame it. For the eponymous designer, who was born on August 19 under the star sign Leo, she believed the lion is the sign of her a destiny – audacious, instinctive, passionate and radiant – and made it so. It today roars from the most beautiful necklaces, pendants and brooches of Chanel’s high jewellery collection, an emblem that is the perfect representation of the majestic spirit of Chanel.

Van Cleef & Arpels and its butterflies

The four-leaf clover may be the first thing one thinks of at the mention of Van Cleef & Arpels but when it comes to an animal spirit, the jewellery house has long drawn inspiration from the beautiful butterfly thanks to the diversity in its forms, species and colours. Its lightness, elegance and femininity also resound with the maison’s unique savoir-faire and its delicacy and transformative life cycle, reflective of the house’s designs. W

Chaumet and its bees

Bees were a symbol of divine and eternal love to Emperor Napoleon I, to whom Chaumet was the official jeweller. They adorned the attire and decorated the palaces of the Emperor and his wife a a constant reminder of the insect’s enterprising and never-tiring spirit. Today, the busy fellows and their intricate honeycombs continue to inspire the jewellery house and its successive master jewellers and feature heavily in the most popular collections. W

(Photos: respective brands)