Images of birds have been portrayed throughout history and often carried symbolic meaning : in Ancient Egypt the vulture headed Goddess Nekhebet was associated with femininity and maternal protection.
Owls represented wisdom and knowledge in Ancient Greece with the Goddess Athena who was accompanied by a little owl. This association is mirrored in Roman History with the cult of Minerva seen in relics found at the Roman Baths in Bath.
Birds have always held a fascination for mankind as they have the enviable ability to freely roam the earth and are considered to have a closer proximity to Heaven.
In Victorian times many symbolic motifs appeared in jewellery and birds were no exception – swallows; who famously mate for life; represent eternal love were a very popular motif for brooches and necklaces, owls for wisdom and guidance – even mystery and magic, doves for maternal devotion and sacrifice, pelicans too had religious significance.
Birds feature among top jewellery design houses with Cartier’s Flamingo brooch – a vintage piece recently aired on the Hollywood catwalk, Boucheron’s diamond encrusted swan rings and Graff’s multicoloured diamond Peacock brooch – birds constantly serve to inspire modern day jewellers with their appealing natural forms.