When New Yorker Walter Hunt invented the safety pin in 1849 (mainly to pay off a debt that he owed a friend), little did he know the role his infamous pin would one day play in pop culture.
Rocked with panache by the likes of Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Soo Catwoman (yeah, there’s gonna be like, an entire post on Soo Catwoman), and all punk rock wannabes pretty much ever. They gradually made the leap into the mainstream until, admit it-you were totally making beaded safety pins for your jean jacket and moccasins at camp.
And you were trying to look like George Michael. Yeah, you were. Yeah, that happened.
Somewhere in the meantime, safety pin jewelry and body art got kinda….well, haute. And I’m not just talking about the Elizabeth Hurley Versace dress.
This is what I’m rocking today, and it’s giving people a wave of nostalgia. Break out the safety pins and get creative!
I recently purchased this beautiful beetlewing necklace at the fantastic Erie Basin in Red Hook. While most people are under the misapprehension that I’m wearing a chain full of Lee Press-On Nails (probably because I would wear a chain full of Lee Press-On Nails-DIY project!), they are actually the hind wings of Buprestidae beetles, otherwise known as jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles. Used in Asian decorative arts since the 1900s, they are being introduced awesomely in modern pieces by designers like Claire Angel (www.claireangel.com) or Skullbag on Etsy.
But beetles aren’t the only iridescent animals that lend their beauty to jewelry. Starlings, peacocks, and morpho butterflies all share that brilliant sheen. I have fantastical dreams of a statement necklace with all of them together!