Artist Hubert Duprat Employs Insect Craftsmen to Build Precious Jewelries

Since the early 1980s French artist Hubert Duprat began an unusual artistic collaboration with the caddisfly larvae. The result: an amazing collection of bio-organic jewelries.

Hubert Duprat 1

Photo Jean-Luc Fournier. Courtesy Art:concept, Paris, and Zero Gallery, Milan.

How does it works

A small winged insect belonging to the order Trichoptera and closely related to the butterfly, the caddisflies can be found living near ponds and streams. As larvae they live underwater and build temporary aquatic cocoons to protect their developing bodies. The cases are built with materials available in their benthic ecosystem (twigs, sand, stones, crustacean shells etc.) and glued with silk from salivary glands found near their mouths.

Aware of the caddisflies’ abilities and also observing prospectors panning for gold in the Ariège River in southwestern France, Hubert Duprat had a thought. Did a caddisfly ever naturally encountered a piece of gold in a river and used it in the construction of its cocoon?

This is how the self-taught artist ended-up collecting larvae from their natural environment and relocating them to his studio. After he gently removes their own natural cases Hubert Duprat places them in aquaria that he fills with precious materials.

At the beginning the artist used only gold spangles but has since added various semi-precious and precious stones such as: turquoise, opals, lapis lazuli, coral, pearls, rubies, sapphires, diamonds. You can admire some of the results below.

Hubert Duprat 2

Photo Jean-Luc Fournier. Courtesy Art:concept, Paris, and Zero Gallery, Milan.

Hupert Duprat3

Photographer: Frédéric Delpech. Image courtesy of the artist and Art:Concept gallery, Paris and MONA Museum of Old and New Art.

Hupert Duprat 4

Photographer: Fabrice Gousset.

Hubert Duprat 5

Photographer: Fabrice Gousset.

Photos and source:,

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Katie Zahel
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