Buying Guide

Animal Jewelry for Wild Looks on Even Tame Occasions


Animals have always played a prized role in our lives, so why not celebrate this connection through jewelry? Though not quite as extensive as the animal kingdom, animal jewelry still comes in a staggering variety of designs and styles. Pieces of animal jewelry run the gamut from cute and casual to majestic and exotic. Whether you wish to honor a cherished family pet or just want to keep your spirit animal close at hand, there is sure to be a meaningful option perfect for every animal lover.

.10 ct. t.w. Diamond Snake Wrap Ring with Garnet Accents in 18kt Gold Over Sterling. #890061

Alongside its animal-themed motifs, some jewelry selections are complemented with gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, to name a few. Animal designs really stand out in colored enamel, which brings out a creature's natural or accentuated plumage and fur. You can pick white or yellow gold, sterling silver, and two-tone pieces that use different metals to depict animal patterns. Jewelry designers spotlight exotic creatures as well as pets, so you can seek out unique pieces that blend with your personal aesthetic.

Types of Animal Jewelry

Show playfulness or opulence with your animal-themed jewelry, depending on its design. Rings that focus on simple designs in single or dual metals give an understated appearance. Gold earrings accented with diamonds present a simple and dazzling accent to gowns and formal attire. Sterling silver animal heads with gems set as the eyes may give off an air of strength and mystery. Stone placement and material all depend on what vibe you want to emit.

Perhaps the most popular pieces of animal jewelry are necklaces and bracelets featuring exquisite animal designs. Some animal motifs are incorporated through intricate metalwork and some through charms or glass beads. Necklaces with animal pendants are always a striking choice, displaying each animal prominently in precious metal and some with jewel embellishments. Whatever your aesthetic, there's a necklace or bracelet sure to fit your unique taste, whether you're going for cute or full-on ferociousness!


Where and Why Animal Jewelry Started

To say that animal jewelry has always been fashionable is an understatement. Some of the oldest art and jewelry, dating from around the Stone Age, either uses animal bones or depicts carved animals. In the earliest days, necklaces made from sharks teeth were a status symbol to tribal elders. Since then, animals have appeared on bracelets, rings, and earrings everywhere from Ancient Egypt to adorning the queen of England. Even the British Crown Jewels feature a menagerie of animals, including lions, eagles, alligators, and more.

Why has the popularity of animal-themed jewelry endured? Well, there's not just one simple answer. In some cases, jewelry was a religious accessory, with animal deities the focus in many societies. Animal materials, such as teeth and claws, were plentiful and easy to use. Animal imagery displays a certain social standing or family significance in modern histories, such as the Tudors and their snake motifs.


How to Select Animal Jewelry That Suits You

If you have pets in the family, you may want to choose jewelry that reflects your affection for them. Metal pendant necklaces and rings allow for engraving with pet names or messages. You can pick outlines or likenesses of your breed of kitten or puppy to proudly show the world how much you adore your furry companion.

Consider an animal that resonates with your personality or your history. Some cultures believe in totem and spirit animals that represent and speak to them. If you have an animal guide, seek out jewelry that displays your personal connection through symbolic ornamentation. Some relate to more than one animal as they serve as allies, helpers, and protectors along their path to a balanced life.

Still, others lean towards magical and mythological creatures. These imaginary beings come in many forms, like legendary dragons, fabled unicorns, or the all-powerful Sphinx. From rewarding good luck and fortune to the wearer to defending one from a foe on the battlefield, these ornaments have a long and storied past.

The key to looking contemporary, polished, and put-together without going overboard is to pick one fun, animal-inspired piece, and stack or layer it with your current, classic go-to jewels. Whatever you fancy, make a statement with eye-catching animals and critters drawn from nature and rendered in exquisite gemstones, gold, and sterling silver.

  • Add the perfect amount of edgy style and sass to a pencil skirt and cardigan with a lion, snake, or crocodile bracelet.
  • Give whimsical charm to your favorite princess with a frog ring or necklace.
  • Go for a nautical vibe with a sleek starfish or crab pendant or bracelet paired with khakis and a crisp button-down.

Styles and Occasions For Animal Jewelry

If you're wondering where and when to wear animal jewelry, it's versatile enough to work with just about any outfit or occasion. It adds a touch of personality and acts as a conversation starter, especially if the other party fancies the same animals as you. If you like the layering trend, stack animal rings with other rings for a unique look. Animal dangle earrings or stud earrings express your style with dazzling stones such as diamonds or opal.

Vintage animal jewelry often features birds or insects, such as bees, butterflies and dragonflies. For formal attire that requires soft accents, select pieces have a timeless look. Choose elegant designs that match your event's location, such as starfish, turtle, or octopus jewelry for boat or beach parties. That way, you fit in with the scenery while making your outfit pop.

Some animal jewelry represents fur or paw print patterns rather than full body or face designs. Match jewelry that features leopard spots or tiger stripes to your animal-print clothing. If you would prefer, select simple designs in bright metals like white gold or rose gold to complement single or basic-colored attire.


Animal Jewelry: FAQs Answered

Curious about using animal motifs in your accessory choices? Take advantage of these simple answers to commonly asked questions that may make your choices easier.

What animals appear on jewelry?

If you can think of the animal, it probably makes an appearance on jewelry. The most common sorts of animals are likely dogs and cats, as they reflect people's pets. On pendants, wolves, eagles, horses, tigers, and other strong animals show up frequently. Insects, birds, and ocean life often appear on brooches, and snake designs are common for bracelets. To add a wild touch to your look, check for exotic animal jewelry depicting animals such as giraffes or elephants. You're bound to find more than one option.

Do famous people wear animal jewelry?

Over the years, many celebrities have sported animal jewelry. The Duchess of Windsor used to wear a large flamingo brooch that held sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Artist Salvador Dali created a line of jewelry that portrayed ocean life and other animals for high-class socialites. Even Beyoncé shows off diamond butterfly jewelry on occasions. So, rest assured that if you choose animal rings or necklaces, you're in excellent company.

Does animal jewelry come across as gaudy?

There is such a variety of animal-design jewelry that it's easy to find precisely what you want, whether flamboyant costume jewelry or an understated piece. Many modern styles feature lines and designs that hint at animal characteristics or present clean, simple shapes. Some earrings or rings are petite and stylish in their look, and pendants can express fierceness or personality without going over the top. Besides, in some cases being a little flashy with your bling is exactly the extra attention you desire.

Use animal jewelry to express yourself, promote animal causes, or simply show that you've got a bit of wild in you. Animal-themed jewelry may perfectly complete your next casual or sophisticated outfit.