Our Butterflies, Feathers and Flowers
No butterfly is harmed in the making of our jewelry. The butterfly wings are sent to us from breeding farms once the butterflies have expired naturally.
Most butterflies have a short life span, some species live around 12-20 days, but others might live as few as one or two days. This makes butterfly farming an attractive option for small family owned farms in tropical forests around the world. Most of the farms have enclosures in which they breed the species of butterflies that are native to their area. They feed the butterflies and protect them from predators, so they can develop and reproduce. Once the butterflies mature, the farmers release a number of them back into the wild to keep their populations healthy. Because butterflies in the farm conditions do not fly long distances looking for food, shelter, or avoiding predators their wings are kept in great condition, and so once they expire naturally they are preserved and stored.
We have a partnership with butterfly breeders from South America and support legal insect traders within the US who import butterflies species from all over the world. These companies are highly regulated by the Fish and Wildlife Service - USFWS, which guarantees that all of the species used are not protected or endangered (NON-CITES species). Monarca also has a permit issued by USFWS to work with butterflies.
Our feather product line is very small in comparison to the flower and butterfly wing lines, which allows us to be very selective with our sources. Peacocks lose their feathers naturally after every mating season (each one can shed about 160 feathers), so we support a few family owned farms in the US that sell small quantities of feathers collected from their own peafowls.
We use a few species of flowers that are commonly found in gardens and nurseries. We treat the flowers in our workshop from start to finish. In our small nursery we mainly have Hydrangeas and Elderflowers, and through experience we have learned exactly when to collect them so they maintain their colors.