Keeping Busy: The Symbolism of Bees in the Victorian Era

Victorian Gold Bee Brooch

How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!

The Victorian loved naturalistic jewellery, and loved what each item of jewellery could present. With the Victorian obsession with hard work, loyalty (bees die when they sting an animals while defending their hive), team work, and industriousness, it isn’t very surprising to find that bees were a favourite with jewellers and their patrons. A person who modelled their behaviour on the bees’ example would be considered to have excellent moral fibre and work ethic. Can’t you just see a mother giving a ‘lazy’ child the gift of bee brooch to remind them to stay busy? After all, ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’.

And, let’s face it, bees are cute, and they make honey and pollinate our crops, and the droning of bees is one of the most pleasant sounds in the world (unless you allergic to their stings). The bright colours of bees is meant to be a warning that they can sting, but it also makes them a perfect model for jewellery, or to decorate a statement dress.AN ANTIQUE RUSSIAN BEE BROOCH  The tiger's eye and onyx body with diamond line detail to the ruby eyes and rose-cut diamond wings, mounted in silver and gold, circa 1870, 5.4 cm. wide, with St. Petersburg hallmark for gold

Bee decorated dress


Filed under Analogy, Bling, Fashion, History, Metaphors, Steampunk Genre, Writing Style

3 responses to “Keeping Busy: The Symbolism of Bees in the Victorian Era

  1. honey ❤ and really love that dress!

  2. Christine Horowitz

    I am making a Victorian walking skirt. Picking put fabric. This article helped me make a decision.

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