The Monarch Collection

Monarch butterflies are one of nature’s true marvels, their gorgeous stained-glass wings carry them each year along their migratory route from Canada to Mexico.  These butterflies hold strong aesthetic and scientific significance, from the secrets of how the monarch caterpillars sequester toxins they eat within their tissues without themselves being poisoned to the beauty and lessons we can learn about aeronautics and navigation from the long journey the adults undertake.

Monarch butterflies savor the warmer weather of Mexico during the cold winter months, while enjoying the cooler weather of North America during the summer months where they raise their young, lovingly laying their eggs on the only plants their caterpillars can eat, milkweed. Besides providing vital nutrients, milkweed plants transfer their toxins to the young caterpillars, which these baby butterflies then use to make themselves toxic to predators. Even with this ingenious defense, these stunning butterflies are dwindling due in large part to lack of milkweed plants that are necessary for caterpillars to survive. 

The Monarch Collection from Insect Diva is geared at trying to reverse this trend, and all profits are going towards the Insect Diva Monarch Conservation Project to plant vital milkweed and floral sources to support the Atlantic Coast Migratory route of our monarch butterflies.  The collection features real flower pendants preserved in resin and American made brass monarch butterflies  hand painted and incorporated into elegant necklaces, earrings, brooches and sunglasses. I hope you love this collection and gift yourself or someone you care about with these handmade treasures that also help conserve our environment.

This project is especially close to my heart because I grew up along the Atlantic Coast migration route of these beautiful butterflies, and used to delight in seeing them every summer as they returned from Mexico.

A picture of me as a little girl enchanted with the beauty of a monarch butterfly.

Over the years however the monarch butterflies became fewer and fewer in the area, until I did not see any. So I decided to do something about it and started clearing and planting land with milkweed, the vital monarch caterpillar host plant. I also began rearing and releasing monarch caterpillars into the wild to help revitalize the dwindling populations of these butterflies along the Atlantic Coast. Your purchases of The Monarch Collection helps fund the growing and maintaining of milkweed plants and other floral sources to support the Atlantic Coast monarch populations. And I am delighted to share that after our first year with this project we are already seeing great success! Healthy and abundant monarch populations have already began recolonizing this area along the Atlantic Coast. Through your support, we hope to conserve the scientific and cultural wonder of these butterflies for generations to come!

Slow Fashion: Using Consumerism for Conservation

Did you know that you can turn your consumer power into the power to help conserve our environment? The fast fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. The goal of fast fashion is to produce designs quickly at a low cost to satisfy quickly changing trends and consumer demands. This model encourages consumption over enjoyment and contentment with your purchases, because almost as soon as you buy one item the company has come out with a new design or the cheap item has broken. Beyond the costs to our peace and our wallets, the fast fashion industry has devastating effects on the environment. These include: clothing dyes and chemicals which end up in our waterways, carbon emissions to produce such large quantities of product, the waste created when fashion is made cheaply and disposed of regularly, and more. Read, Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry for more information on the environmental costs of the fast fashion industry.

This is why more designers and consumers alike have been gravitating to slow fashion, a system that creates products more slowly and sustainably. These item are often, but not always, produced in the USA, Europe, or Canada, and buying local is part of this movement because it reduces carbon emissions of goods traveling far distances like large freight ships running between Asian and the USA. Beyond the environmental benefits of slow fashion, shifting from a trend-focused anxiety laden consumer mindset to one focused on quality and that truly makes you happy and adds value to your life can help bring a sense of peace and calm

Only very recently have we had so many options to choose from, think of our ancestors hunting and gathering millions or even 30,000 years ago, there were only one or two berries or roots available at a given time to gather, only a certain area to hunt a specific animal, only a few places from which to obtain water, even only a handful of mates from which to choose. That means for millions of years we have evolved with relatively few choices, and this new era of so many options can leave us anxious, confused, and without the ability to know what the impacts of our decisions are. But slow fashion is an attempt to be kind to ourselves and our environment by bringing us back to a more natural and thoughtful mode of hunting and gathering, because what is shopping but modern hunting and gathering.

At Insect Diva we provide a slow fashion shopping experience for jewelry inspired by nature and even made with upcycled items from the natural world like flowers. Our boutique is stocked with some of our staple consistent sellers along with limited edition made to order pieces. These limited edition designs allow our customers to tell us what they want, instead of making new products and convincing customers that they want what we already have in stock. In this way we can significantly cut down on waste in our own production as well as try to cut down on waste from the typical fast fashion problem of customers throwing away items bought which they did not really want.

Additionally, being able to fund hands-on conservation projects through purchases from Insect Diva is a passion of mine. I grew up during the 90s at a time when the media and local communities empowered people to assume personal responsibility for taking care of our environment. Lately however doing hands on conservation has increasingly gone out of style and has been replaced by merely “spreading awareness” about conservation or expecting politicians to protect our environment for us. Unfortunately this not only leaves us disconnected from nature, but it also leaves nature disconnected from the powerful impacts that individuals can have through practices like habitat restoration, gardening for pollinator conservation, and using consumer power to help our environment. We all have an incredible power to help the environment as consumers through practices like 1) buying locally produced or conservation conscious products, 2) purchasing reusable instead of single use items (e.g. reusable shopping bags and water bottles), 3) investing in recycled or upcycled items (e.g. shopping at thrift stores and for products made from recycled or upcycled items), and simply 4) consuming less (the easiest way to do this is through investing in quality items that will last a long time instead of trendy poorly made items prone to quickly falling apart). With so many 90s trends coming back, I think we should bring back the 90s trend of personal responsibility in conserving our world. 

Precious Pollinators Collection

Our pollinators are a precious natural resource, much like a precious metal or precious stone, so it seemed only natural to design jewelry inspired by the beauty of these creatures. The Precious Pollinators Collection showcases the colorful and ornate artistry animals create through pollinating our gardens and flowering life sustaining crops. The designs feature real flowers preserved in resin, solid sterling silver and brass chains, semi-precious and vintage stones, and stunning silver plated and brass insects molded and stamped with vintage equipment here in the USA.

The collection evokes feelings of sweet flowering spring vines and fruit trees and walking through fields of freshly blooming summer wildflowers. As always for every purchase Insect Diva will plant a pollinator feeding flower to help conserve these stewards of our natural beauty, crops, and indeed our way of life as we know it.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.