Colorful Tagua Nut and Insect Wing Jewelry

Athens, Georgia

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SciBugsCollections is taking a short break


Note from shop owner Hai friends!
We're doing a complete overhaul of the shop. We should be back open around Mid December.


Note from shop owner

Last updated on Mar 15, 2021

Hai friends!
We're doing a complete overhaul of the shop. We should be back open around Mid December.


Nancy Miorelli

Contact shop owner

Nancy Miorelli


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About SciBugsCollections

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On Etsy since 2016

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SciBugs Collections features ecofriendly bug jewelry made with natural products from all around the world! Why not add a bit of sparkle to your day?

I've always done a little jewelry making. A little here. A little there. Mainly for friends and family, but I never made anything that I just fell in love with.

Then I moved to Ecuador! I'm an entomologist living in the cloud forests studying bugs. I had some leftover jewel beetle shells from other projects. When I found that I could buy tagua, a palm nut that grows on the coast of Ecuador and a very common material used in Ecuadorian Jewelry, I knew I finally had what I was looking for. Endless possibilities of colored tagua paired with jewel beetle shells or butterfly wings. Because all the products are natural, no two pairs of earrings, and no two pendants are alike!

I started by just selling jewelry at the Ecolodge where I work. This jewelry really gives me a springboard to talk about bugs and their conservation! After so many people telling me that they loved my earrings, I took my 100lb rice bag full of jewelry supplies to my bug conference in Orlando, Fl. I sold earrings there to help raise money to build houses in Ecuador after the earthquake and was successful enough to fund the constructions of three houses! (

From there, I decided to get serious! I now have two people who help me out with everything as I still live in the middle of the jungle. Allison handles all my shipping from the states and packages everything with a personal touch and Carlos who lives in Ecuador does my videography work and a lot of my photography.

We would all like to thank you for stopping by and taking a look!
~Nancy (aka SciBugs)

Shop members

  • Nancy Miorelli

    Owner, Creator

    I started this whole thing! After living in Ecuador for a year and being inspired by the local markets, I decided to use the tagua found here and combine it with my number one passion - Bugs!

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Last updated on May 11, 2022
Frequently asked questions
What is Tagua?

Tagua is a nut that grows on the coast of Ecuador from a palm tree. It can be cut, dyed, and polished. It's not farmed like other palms. People just pick up what falls to the ground and use it in handicrafts.

It's nickname is "Vegetable Ivory" due to its hardness and natural ivory color.

Where do you get the beetle wings? Are they sustainable and ethically sourced?

Yes! They are sustainable and ethically sourced.

The jewel beetle wings come from a supplier in Thailand. There, the jewel beetles are sustainably harvested by the locals who eat them. The shells can't be eaten, so they are sold to venders who then sell them. The locals are paid for the shells. The beetles are harvested and maintained somewhat like cattle. The protects wild beetles.

Where do you get the butterfly and other insect wings? Are they sustainable and ethically sourced?

Yes! They are sustainable and ethically sourced.

The butterfly (and other insect) wings come from two sources. One, is that I collect only dead specimens that I find. Sometimes they die because of old age or fungus. Sometimes I find just the wings as birds and other predators rip the wings off and then will just eat the body. (Nature is rough sometimes...)

Otherwise, I save wings from old student collections. Students, in most entomology classes, are required to create physical insect collections to learn the basics of morphology, identification, and processing. At the end of the semester, some specimens are placed in the museum. All others would be thrown out. I collect them and use their wings in my jewelry to give them a new life.

Do you do anything to the butterfly wings?

Yes. I coat them in a type of thin plastic to ensure that they are waterproof and protected. Many butterfly wings that you can buy encased in glass cannot be exposed to moisture unless the seller has sealed the wings perfectly. That's because many butterflies, like the shiny ones, use specialized micro-structures to make their colors. If water enters the structures, they don't reflect light correctly, and they look brown. This process ensures that the butterfly wing always stay vibrant and shiny!

If you're interested in learning about the micro-stuctures, check out my YouTube video.

Are the beetle shells fragile

I'm probably the most destructive person you'll find on the planet.
That being said, when I motorbike through the jungle and I wear these (and sometimes they flap around in the wind) and I haven't had any break.

I did have one that I left in the bottom of my backpack for a week and the end of the shell chipped off.

So with regular care, nothing is going to happen to them. Chitin (the stuff that insect exoskeletons are made of) is naturally really hard! In fact, there's one beetle - called the "Iron Clad Beetle" and its shell is so hard that people actually have to use an industrial drill to drill holes through them. #randombugfact

Do you do anything to the beetle shells?

Nope! They're 100% natural. They range in colors naturally, are naturally hard and durable, and really are that shiny! Nature is amazing! I urge you to read about Jewel Beetles.

Are the earrings heavy?

On average the earrings weight between 2-3 grams (the weight of 2 or 3 paperclips)

The beetle shells are really light and since the tagua is cut pretty thin, it's not that heavy either. Obviously, the smaller earrings are lighter than the bigger clunkier ones. That being said, I drive on my motor bike, wind whipping at my face, and haven't had a problem.

Are the earrings and necklaces hypoallergenic

Yes! All the metals I use are both nickle and lead free.
I do not yet have the option to make jewelry with silver, gold, or platinum but check back soon as I'm considering adding these options.