Saturday, March 31, 2012

Creepy Couture? Blinged Out Beetle Broaches

I remember an episode of America's Next Top Model that aired some years ago. Tyra Banks, persistent in her model hazing challenges, required the contestants to hit the catwalk wearing live bugs as jewelry. I thought to myself, "This is a great way to weed out the weaklings, but bugs as jewelry? There's no way anybody's doing this in real life."
Little did I know, that the fad of wearing crawling baubles has been around for centuries! A recent article on Yahoo news revealed that there are people out there who are making six legged brooches into fashion statements and wearable pets. There's even a company that sells what's called (...gag) the "Roach Broach" made from live giant Madagascar hissing cock roaches. See for yourself after the jump.

On January 12th, border agents in Brownsville, Texas, confiscated the jewelry of a woman crossing from Mexico into the United States – because it was alive. She had declared the bejeweled insect, but did not have the right paperwork. Although wearing jewel-encrusted beetle jewelry has recently become a fad – and one designer sells the Roach Brooch with the slogan “It’s not a pest if it’s pinned to your chest” – it is not a new idea. 
In fact, it is a Mayan custom called the maquech, traditionally given as a gift to one’s mother-in-law. It is said that Jackie Kennedy received one, as did a Spokane woman named Carol Wright back in 1969. The audacious Ms. Wright named her “pet” Chac-mool and wore him to her job as a clerk in a downtown department store. He had been purchased (along with some wood to feed him) for 3 pesos from a street vendor in Chichen Itza by a friend who apparently smuggled him into the country – as I doubt he submitted “PPQ Form 526 Declaration for Importation or Exportation.”
The Roach Broach

No matter how much I hate them, I'm not sure how ethically sound it is to bedazzle live bugs. You don't see anyone hot gluing rhinestones on dogs for instance, although you do see the occasional hot pink dyed poodle here in Beverly Hills. 
If you're looking for something that's equally eye catching (that wont leave any droppings or hiss at you), try the Diamond Rhinoceros Beetle Ring by Jason of Beverly Hills. ~vK

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