Well, yes. Usually.
But I've been keeping one particular artisan from you. Because, for once, I wanted to have first dibs on her amazing creations. I would have been gutted if the pieces I had really wanted had been snatched from under my nose by someone else.
Remember this pendant? That was when my love affair with jewellery made from the wings of (ethically-farmed) Blue Morpho butterflies began.
A sensible person would have stopped with just that one, glorious wing. I am not a sensible person. A sensible person wouldn't have coughety-cough pairs of spectacles, now, would she? Er, no.
So I searched Etsy with increased vigour. And I found the Bela Brazilian Designs shop. And I was in Morpho heaven. And I got talking with Nicole, who runs the shop and who creates all the jewellery.
Nicole is from Brazil, but currently living in Germany with her husband and adored small daughter. Nicole taught me that there's more than one species of Blue Morpho butterfly. That the ones whose wings are most often preserved in jewellery are the Morpho Menelaus, but that there are many others, including the Morpho Achilles, the Morpho Catanarius, and the Morpho Sulkowskii.
Nicole visits Brazil to choose the wings herself*. She then subjects them to a laminating process to preserve them. Of course, plastic is much lighter than glass, so that makes it possible to wear earrings made from entire single wings, and huge necklaces made from pairs of wings.
(I have to say at this point that my love for the wing encased in glass and accented with silver hasn't diminished one whit. Glass does have better transparency than plastic film, and that wing glows like nobody's business. But there's just no way my ears would be able to take that sort of weight. And there is more than enough room in my heart for both processes.)
Anyway, back to the lovely Nicole. She doesn't just do butterflies, you know. And she doesn't just sell through Etsy, either. Nope, she's on eBay as well. Here. She applies a similar laminating process to Cattleya Orchids, and strings them on to necklaces made of chunky, polished chains of semi-precious stones.
So, that's it. I've come clean at last. If you want butterflies, orchids, semi-precious stones, or just a really sweet and delightful person to correspond with, Nicole's your woman. She'll do you proud.
*That sentence originally ended with "to choose her own wings". I changed it in the edit. Nicole is undoubtedly very talented, but I doubt she can actually fly.