Senlis Style: Jewelry Inspired by Butterflies and Botanicals

Coming from a career in fashion, Jane Winchester has launched her own jewelry line inspired by freedom, florals, and natural beauty. We talked with Jane to get the story behind her latest collection.


Why did you choose butterflies as the inspiration behind your latest collection?

I started my collection with 8 double sided coins- One of which had a butterfly on one side and the word FREE on another. The coin comes with a card that reads “There is a confidence that comes with freedom. Whether you need encouragement to take the steps to freedom, or have a newfound freedom you want to celebrate, the butterfly inspires with her gentle movement and complete independence. You make your own choices. You are determined. You are FREE.”

When I drew this design and chose the word FREE, I was thinking of how I wanted my daughters to feel when they went off to school. I wanted them to be confident and enjoy freedom, even though I would miss them desperately – even though I knew they were nervous. I thought of when I first got divorced and I need to feel like I had a little something to guide me in a newfound freedom. And I thought of how I feel when I travel (which is often!), exploring a new place and learning over and over that trying new things is incredibly rewarding. 

While the FREE butterfly coin has been around since our launch 18 months ago, this summer I started drawing butterflies again and working with a lapidary to translate the design into a carved stone butterfly – I wanted to add color and finer materials into the collection. I started with jade…but then couldn’t help myself and added lapis, malachite and turquoise. I then took the butterfly from inside the coin and cast it alone in 10k gold. And then stud earrings. And then these beautiful mother of pearl drop earrings. I couldn’t stop. I know there will be more butterflies to come.

Where do you typically source inspiration from?

For my company, the brand Jane Winchester – the inspiration is always always to connect with people and create something they treasure. That translates into special jewelry pieces that they can’t take off. When designing the jewelry, I go back constantly to scientific and botanical illustration and coin jewelry. I pull archival drawings of plants and animals from the 1800’s and draw simple line drawings of snakes, butterflies, leaves, animals and stars (which turned into a zodiac collection launching in November). I love art by naturalists like Ernst Haeckel. I love to collect coins and scour coin shops for antique coins. My stepdaughter Naomi is also an artist and she has worked on little sketches for me. These little drawings – little studies of the nature I see around me – become our jewelry. If I were not a jewelry designer I think I would have to be a tattoo artist. Don’t tell my Mom.

Check out Jane's latest collection here

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