By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Of all the animals on the planet, butterflies are possibly the most fascinating – and stunning. They begin their lives as eggs, grow into caterpillars and form cocoons before emerging as colourful winged beauties. It’s an incredibly ephemeral transformation, and some butterflies may live for only one brief day.
In nearly all cultures, butterflies symbolise transformation, change, and renewal, and the way they emblematically capture the transition of time inspired one brand of luxury accessories to incorporate the gentle insects into their exquisite bag, tech case, and now, watch, designs.
Khamama is a brand that embraces nature through sustainable butterfly wing marquetry. The family-owned company has a compelling anecdote that triggered its launch: the grandfather of the founders (Amos & Nathan Hornstein) was a draper, travelling through Europe from Milan to Paris. One hot summer’s day, he took his nine year old daughter (who later became Amos and Nathan’s mother) to a business meeting.
It was a stuffy room in an old building, and the entire wall was covered with framed papillons. This was the first time the girl had ever seen butterflies, and she stared at them mesmerised, throughout the entire meeting. The client noted this, and before calling an end to the encounter, he asked the little girl to choose one as a gift for herself. Decades later, when her sons were exploring the attic, the brand’s founders rediscovered this butterfly and identified it as a Rajah Brooke – an rare species.
The rarity and beauty of this butterfly sparked the idea of Khamama.
Ethical Farms and Timeless Beauty
Khamama’s butterfly farms enable local people in the tropics to make a living without destroying the rainforest, which is often burnt or cut down for agriculture, fuel and exploitation of natural resources. These butterfly farms don’t endanger the soil’s fertility, since butterflies pollinate and feed on local plants that flourish without the use of pesticides and herbicides. It goes without saying that the butterflies are gathered for Khamama’s pieces only at the end of their brief life cycle – no creatures are ever harmed to create these timepieces and bags, making them suitable even for vegans.
In fact, Khamama is the only luxury Maison specialised in using butterfly wings, a technique known as Haute Art de Papillon. In fact, Khamama is the only luxury Maison specialised in using butterfly wings, a technique known as Haute Art de Papillon. Even if butterfly art isn’t your preference – you may well prefer the likes of a more traditional Rolex, for example, you still have to admit that this is something that has never before been used in contemporary high-end watches and accessories
Butterfly wings are one of the most frail and inscrutable creations of nature. There are over a hundred thousand different species of butterflies, with diverse patterns on their gossamer wings. This incommensurable and dynamic variety of nature’s most beautiful creations demands an extraordinary expertise choosing only the very best wings around the world in an ethical and sustainable manner.
The elegance of this Khamama’s unisex luxury watches is definitely given by the beauty of the papillons’ wings, but also by the stainless steel and sapphire crystal that compose each piece. These components are skillfully crafted by Parisian Haute Joaillerie designer Yann Llorens, who previously worked for LV Joaillerie, Van Cleef & Arpels and Lorenz Bäumer.
Wearing a Khamama will make you fly above conventions, in terms of ageless style and universal beauty. The 39 mm case makes the butterfly watches suitable for both men and women. The mystical nuances of the insect wings and the symmetrical architectural design of the timepiece, will enable each proud owner of a Khamama to count the significant moments of their day, gazing at nature’s pulchritude. In short, we have a positive version of the butterfly effect!
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