Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just wow.

These little bejeweled cases might look strange, but they're incredible. No, they're not some kind of special modern art. They're incredible because they're made by an insect.

I'm not much of a bug lover, but this is simply one of the coolest things I've ever seen (in a totally-bio-nerdy kind of way). Hubert Duprat, a french artist, had the genius if not a little out there idea to turn caddisfly larvae into artists. In the wild, caddisfly larvae create elaborate protective tubes from materials like stones, sticks, and whatever else they can find. When Duprat carefully removed their original tubes and placed the larvae in tanks with bits of gold and semi-precious and precious stones, the larvae gladly began building their tubes from the provided materials. The critters now create their tubes out of gold, sapphires, pearls, rubies and diamonds - some seriously expensive bug houses! The result is some of the most unique (and, in my opinion, fantastic) jewelry you'll ever find:

I think it's just incredible. Here's a video of a larval caddisfly in bejeweling action:

You have got to be as impressed as I am. You are, right?


Christina said...

Holy crap on a cracker! That is really really cool! It really pushes the border of what is and is not art! Is that art or is it natural beauty? If it is art, who is the artist? The human or the insects?

ARJ said...

geee, I wonder what a dung beetle could do with that?!

scicurious said...

That's totally awesome!!! Will he be making earrings out of them or something? I'll buy!

Francesca said...

What a fantastic idea. I'm assuming these things are pretty fragile and the jeweler stabilizes them in some way so they can be worn.

Bravi to all the caddis fly larvae, too!

Kevin said...

The question is do you wear it with the caddisfly still inside (preserved) (like an insect-loving boss) or do you somehow replace it with some sort of resin thus avoiding the awkwardness of realizing you're wearing a corpse around.

Dan Boise said...

Wow...I never thought a single picture could be so awesome and yet and have something disgusting in it. Great work bugs!

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember reading somewhere that by alternating what materials are available, someone got them to build colourfully striped ones. Never saw a picture though--these are very impressive!

@Kevin: The best bit is that only the larvae live in the tubes, so you can let them pupate and fly away as adults. I guess they need a bit of glue or something to hold them together, though.