Why bees are such a popular and powerful symbol
Bees play a very important role in our eco system, providing life to our food, trees, and flowers. We rely heavily on the food that the bees pollinate. Without their hard work, we, along with the other animals, would go hungry.
Due to the great reliance in sustaining life, bees have been used as symbols throughout history. For the Mayans, the bee was seen as the bringer of life and abundance, in Ancient Judaism, they represented a peaceful society, with people working in harmony. In Ancient Egypt, they were seen as born from the tears of their Sun God, representing the Pharoah’s sovereignty. Today, bees can be seen as symbols for community, friendship, hard work, joy, and love.
Use of the bee in design
Napoleon Bonaparte made the bee as one of his imperial symbols in the 19th century, and in one of the portraits he can be seen wearing a red robe covered with gold bees. His love for the bee was not only an aesthetic choice, but also a political one. It was rejection of the Bourbon monarchy’s fleur-de-lis, and 300 gold bees were discovered in 5th century monarch King Childeric’s tomb as reference to the treasure and also the unifying power of the bee. Bees would be used as decorations on textiles, porcelain, bedding, and so on, creating a range of designs during the Napoleonic era.
What is the meaning of the Gucci bee?
The use of the bee has been popular in modern design, with Gucci incorporating bees on their products such as handbags, shoes, watches, and broaches. Alessandro Michele was the one to set the bee trend when he was appointed as the new creative director of Gucci in 2015. The inspiration was taken from a combination of Michele’s passion for flora and fauna, and a symbol of nobility in Europe.
Spiritual meaning of bees
The most prevalent representation of the bee would be hard work. Bees are highly productive insects and are dedicated in finishing their job. They are persistency and tenacity can be seen when trying to shoo them away – they will keep coming back until the job is completed.
Bees also represent peace and harmony and part of their culture, where jealousy and competitiveness are non-existent. They work together to achieve their common goal, while peacefully working to overcome any obstacles that may come in their way.
In the spiritual world, pollination represents fertility, birth, growth and new beginnings as flowers and other plants require fertilisations in order to survive. Depending on the context of an individual’s bee encounter, the message communicated can also differ:
Bee flying around you:
Bees can be seen as attracted to an individual’s bright energy and presence, meaning that an idea or a goal is ready to be ‘pollinated’, a dream ready to come true.
Bee following you:
This symbolises communication through harmony within a hive. A person’s thoughts, beliefs, words and actions are significant elements which help create their own reality and ‘following their dream’.
Bee landing on you:
A bee can only land where they feel safe and protected and would not be found near insecure or chaotic energy. This represents courage, confidence, charisma and high social energy, and these qualities are pinnacles in attracting friendships and new relationships.
The use of bees as a symbol
Our history has presented the bee as a symbol of power, luck, determination, and harmony, but it also linked to life’s strongest and most powerful feeling – love. Bees are the creators of honey, which is where the word ‘honey’ in terms of love derives from, used in romantic poetry in Sumerian and Egyptian times. The hexagonal pattern of the honeycomb has six sides, which is the sacred number of Venus, the Goddess of Love. In Celtic cultures, honey wine was seen as the drink of immortality and everlasting love – giving the ability to ‘sweet talk’.
The bee doesn’t always have pleasant connotations, albeit still positive. When the bee stings, it dies, however this is seen as a selfless act, giving up its own life to protect the hive. This action represents loyalty and devotion, but can also mean a reality check or a realisation of what’s important. The sting can be seen as an enlightenment to help get back on track.
Throughout history bees have been used as decorative adornment to symbolise power and regal aspirations, which has been a prominent in Gucci’s designs since the 1970s, and more recently today, with Marc Jacobs releasing the perfume ‘Honey’, drawing inspiration from the bees’ positive energy and the sweetness of nectar.
In the last decade bees have been increasingly used in jewellery design. Bees carry many admirable qualities and that has catapulted the trend of incorporating the emblem in necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets. Not only can they be gifted to someone to symbolise romance and love, but can also be a gift to yourself, proud to represent the bee’s qualities (It doesn’t hurt that wearing bee jewellery is thought to bring good luck, wealth and abundance).
The increasing popularity of bees can also be attributed to damaging effects of climate change and decreasing population globally. Habitats are threatened due to the use of toxic pesticides and also the loss of trees. Desperate measures are needed in order to preserve these habitats and avoid the devastating future without bees. This crisis has further amplified the significance of bees, allowing added meaning when wearing a piece of jewellery with a black and yellow buzzy insect.
In essence, bees represent a number of different meanings and people throughout history and religions have made their own interpretations of what the bee symbolises. Be it community, harmony, love, friendship, or determination. They are the nature’s alchemists and architects, representing divine love and creation, and reassuring us that everything in life fits into a greater plan and purpose.
Our favorite examples of bee jewelry
This necklace by Olivia Burton, called the “Rainbow Bee Rose Gold Pendant Necklace” is stunning homage to the bee, boasting rose gold and crystal encrusted wings, it’s a wonderful wink at the delicate beauty of the bee, with further pieces available to accompany it!
This necklace by Julie Vos, called the “Bee Cameo Delicate Necklace” featuring a bold design of a bee in 24k gold plate looks to harken back to roman inspired designs with its natural bee design and bold color contrast. (see all Julie Vos bee designs here)