What: Jewelry and art made out of real butterfly and moth wings, sourced from butterfly farms and sanctuaries where the butterflies live their full lifespans, says Charlotte’s Jaclyn Brzezinski. Jewelry prices range from $16 to $95; art ranges from $30 to $2,000.
Who: Brzezinski started making jewelry as a little girl. The daughter of parents she describes as very crafty, she could often be found dabbling in her mother’s arts and crafts studio in their house. Though her college education focused on psychology and English, she has been studying entomology (the branch of zoology that concerns insects) and Lepidoptera (the order of insects that includes moths and butterflies) and has taught herself to dissect insects and incorporate them into jewelry.
How: A literal dream is what led her to utilize butterfly wings. She had been toying with epoxy resin, experimenting with embedding different materials within it – but after waking up from a dream of butterflies, she thought she might be onto something unique. A quick Internet search found no one doing what she had in mind. But her ideas didn’t fly at first. “I quickly realized that my initial idea would not work, though, because liquid epoxy resin immediately turns butterfly wings black upon contact!” she says. After six months of experimentation, she found a method that consistently preserved the beauty of the wing without compromising its delicate integrity. Brezinski says she then began ethically sourcing from butterfly farms and sanctuaries, where they are allowed to live their full lifespan.
Soaring success: Chrysalis Studios’ products made their way into gift bags for celebrities at the April MTV Movie Awards. Since the event, Brzezinski says she’s seen her pieces in tweets, photos and more from celebs such as Laura Slade Wiggins of “Shameless” and Dot-Marie Jones of “Glee.”
Current favorite piece: “Probably my real butterfly wing dreamcatcher necklaces,” says Brzezinski. The wing, under glass, is the focal point of a dreamcatcher pendant, with real peacock, pheasant and other feathers attached. “These make awesome statement pieces and always garner a lot of attention.”
Find it locally: Ruby’s Gift Shop or online: Chrysalis-Studios.com