Meet our latest little creation: a bee-autiful little silver bee pendant. Everyone at Mallards loves this little chap, and we’re confident he’s going to be a popular pendant.
The bee is an animal worth celebrating. Honey and bumble bees are fantastic pollinators: without these busy little insects, the farming industry as we know it simply couldn’t happen. Flowering crops such as fruit trees, beans, and oil seed rape rely on honey bee pollination. And of course, the busy bee creates honey and beeswax, products that humans have relied on for centuries.
As jewellers that specialise in heritage pieces, we were naturally fascinated by the symbolism of the bee in myth and history. Here are a few examples of the bee’s starring role.
Bees in myth and legend
Myths and legends swarm with bees. Minoan priestesses were called “Melissa” meaning bee, and Ancient Greek Aristaeus was the god of bee-keeping who introduced apiary to mortals. In Ancient Egypt, the god Ra once cried tears of bees, and the Hindu love god Kamadeva carried a bee-covered sugarcane bow. In Celtic mythology, the wise bee carries messages between this world and the next.
Napoleon and the Bee
When Napoleon became Emperor in 1804, he wanted to adopt emblems that hadn’t been used before to emphasise the new regime. He chose the eagle and the bee. The eagle, symbol of Imperial Rome is an obvious choice, but the humble bumble bee? The bee was a symbol of the Merovingian dynasty in the fifth century; so by using this as his emblem, Napoleon was linking his rule back to the old sovereigns of France. The bee also has positive associations including immortality, industriousness, and benevolence – all attributes that a new regime would dearly love to have.
The Manchester Bee
The Worker Bee is a symbol of this proud city’s hardworking heritage. The textile mills in the early nineteenth century were described as “hives”, so the workers naturally became seen as the busy bees inside. Manchester’s coat of arms dates from this period, and above the shield, there’s a bee-covered globe, representing Manchester’s contribution to international industry. The Manchester Bee recently became adopted as a symbol of unity following the Manchester Arena bombing.
Our bee pendant was a wonderful piece to work on. We focused on the intricate detail as well as the shape, giving him delicate patterned wings and a furry-textured body.
We made our little bee for our sister jeweller, the retailer Bonds the Jewellers, and he can be bought from them.
If you have a symbol you think would make a lovely piece of jewellery, please contact us at Mallards. As there’s no minimum order, it’s simple to test a new product, and we always create a free sample piece for you to look at.