Butterfly wing jewellery became hugely popular following the British Empire exhibition of 1924, although the Patent for reverse-painted jewellery with a butterfly-wing background was in fact granted one year earlier.

The distinctive component of this jewellery is the Morpho butterfly, originating predominately from South America. Typically there is a an iridescent blue butterfly wing background set in a sterling silver mount protected by a glass front cover.

The butterfly wing was used to simulate water or sky and where there are scenes, these were produced by the paint being applied directly to the back of the glass frontage piece which was then placed on the wing which formed the background.

High quality painting will add to the value of the piece and will usually be very evident on visual inspection. If you’re checking for it on EBay, look for well-made sterling silver settings with undamaged glass fronts where the butterfly wing has not faded. If in doubt, always ask the seller a direct question or two.

Then, to keep it your collection in great condition, avoid continued exposure to daylight and do not under any circumstances allow any moisture to penetrate the casing!

Happy hunting!

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