The age-old story of the
birds & the bees
It is the favourite motif of the historical era known as art nouveau – and it is a link to Bodil Binner’s own French past and the historical figure of Emperor Napoleon. Bodil Binner dedicated her participation in the 2016 edition of The Annual Showcase of Crafts Guild to the motif of the bee.
Having spent some five years of her youth in Paris, perfecting the goldsmith skills she had acquired in Denmark, Bodil Binner recently revisited the French royal residence of Malmaison. Here, a white satin robe of Empress Josephine’s was on display, embroidered all over with golden bees – and immediately, it made Bodil Binner feel abuzz with creativity. As a tribute to the small animals, that are in danger of disappearing, as a reference to the sweetest honey to that lovers share when giving and receiving jewellery, and as a reference to her own years spent in Paris, soaking up the decorative royal traditions of France, the three Bee hair pins are made of 18 karat gold, each set either with a Tahiti or South Sea cultured pearl.
The Bee line is comprised of hairpins and other hair jewellery with pearls, brooches and pendants.
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The bee was the precursor of the fleur-de-lys, and Napoleon chose the bee as his personal emblem, embroidered on his regal garments. Bees also ornamented many objects in the imperial residences, and the bee was one of the most important symbols of the power and prestige of the Napoleonic Empire.
The bee has for centuries been considered a most admirable insect. They are social, industrious, well-organized, and productive – and a swarm of bees the perfect emblem of a nation with a single, all-powerful leader.
Finally, and as always, a jewellery motif chosen by goldsmith Bodil Binner has a reference to the ancient civilization of Greece. Melissa was an ancient bee priestess, and the bee an emblem of Potnia, the Minoan-Mycenaean goddess, also referred to as “The Pure Mother Bee”. Her priestesses received the name of “Melissa” (bee), and in addition, priestesses worshipping Artemis and Demeter were called “Bees”.