Would you wear a jeweled pendent made by a bug? Caddisfly larvae use their own silk to construct elaborate suits of armor made from gravel, sand, and whatever other materials are at hand. French artist Hubert Duprat decided to replace these larvae's raw materials with gold and gemstones, letting them construct protective coverings that can be recycled as jewelry for humans.
Photo by Jean-Luc Fournier, from Cabinet Magazine.
Duprat has been working with caddisflies (order Trichoptera) since the 1980s. Inspired by the works of 19th-century entomologists François-Jules Pictet and Jean-Henri Fabre, who provided structure-building insects with alternative materials, Duprat offers his larvae gold, lapis, opals, pearls, diamonds, sapphires, and all other sorts of precious and semi-precious materials. The larvae spin the materials into protective sheaths for themselves until they reach their fly stage, after which they abandon the sheaths. Other larvae might come along to repurpose or build upon a discarded sheath, but Duprat also collects the shimmering cast-offs, stringing them up as an unusual type of bug-crafted jewelry.
You can read more about Duprat's project and see more of his caddisfly jewelry at Cabinet Magazine.