For as long as I can remember, animals have always been incorporated into many forms of fashion. From the real items like leather and fur, to the faux like animal prints and forms, animals have played a big part in fashion history for some time.
The way they are utilized, however, has changed dramatically over the last two decades. Traditional animal skin prints have taken a backseat and are most often found in the lining of coats, purses, hats and dresses whereas animal patterns (pics or silhouettes of animals incorporated onto a fabric) are popping up everywhere.
Pictures of pets, embossed pockets and embroidered jackets with animal logos on the back can all be seen walking down the street, and animal jewelry is a staple everywhere. Frogs, owls and cats have long graced the necks and earlobes of everyone from moms to models and recent trends branch out with new and unlikely animal heroes. From birds to beasts, here are some of the most popular animals to be found in jewelry today and why you might want to wear them too.
Elephants symbolize good fortune, strength and a long life. The shape of an elephant trunk makes it ideal for to be wrapped around a unique ring or hanging from a chunky bracelet. Baby elephant charms can symbolize different members of a family on a charm bracelet and tiny elephant studs are increasingly prevalent.
Perhaps it is our ongoing obsession with the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, but rabbit-themed jewelry has been around for some time and continues to be very popular. Symbolizing abundance, fertility and motherhood, this cute, fuzzy nose-twitcher keeps winning our hearts over and over again.
This is one of the more surprising trends. Historically, the deer was a symbol for hunters and outdoorsmen, but it has become a trendy representation of how fashion adapts. A deer head symbolizes protection, power and intuition. Though renditions of an entire doe or buck body can be found, it is the antlered deer head that is the most popular.
Birds in general are increasingly popular, but it is the swallow that has taken over as king. These tiny little birds have been worn by the likes of Candice Cameron Bure and Emily Bett Rickards and are dainty and beautiful. The swallow was historically seen by sailors as a sign of a long voyage and is a symbol of safe returns and homecomings.
Though it is not just the Scotty, but all dogs that symbolize loyalty, protection and love, it is the Scotty that is the star. Made popular early on by icons like Juicy Couture and their fun, lifelike charms, the Scotty dog has emerged as a breakout entity and is one of the most popular canine silhouettes of all time.
An unusual choice for any list, the giraffe is none-the-less a popular fashion animal. Symbolizing gentleness, foresight and grace, the long neck and legs of the giraffe make them great for wrapped pieces and rings, as well as a unique surprise for other accessories like purse clips and keychains.
Though most people are squeamish about bugs in real life, they are enamored with them when it comes to fashion. The scarab is a popular Egyptian based bug trend, as well as the ladybug, butterfly, spider and bumblebee to name a few. Though each bug symbolizes different things, bugs overall are seen a symbol of community, longevity and productivity.
The monkey has always been a playful reminder of fun times and good memories. Because of their dexterity and flexibility, both in nature and in couture, the monkey can be seen climbing up earlobes, adorning necklines, or wrapping around fingers. The Monkey symbolizes liveliness, creativity, cunning and mischief.
Perhaps viewed as the most villainous of the animals on this list, the snake is seen as a dangerously beautiful creature and that translates into the jewelry fashioned after it. Whether winding around bracelets with bared fangs, or coiled into pendants with emerald eyes, serpents can be both pretty and fearsome. Counterintuitive to how they are traditionally viewed however, snakes are actually symbols of transformation, healing and change.
It is said that the narwhal was what led to the belief in the existence of unicorns. This otherworldly history makes these creatures magical in their own right and makes them sought after in jewelry. Recently, these adorable horned wonders can be seen gracing necklaces, earrings and even cufflinks, whether in relief, animated form, or abstract renditions. The narwhal is a symbol of peace, shyness and mystery.
There are no doubt countless other animal wonders that should grace this list, but these are just a few you can find during a current shopping outing. Whether you choose your animal accessory based on what is symbolizes, or just how much you love its furry countenance, animal jewelry will no doubt continue to be a trend for a long time to come.