The popularity of the use of insects and animals as subjects for for use in the design of costume jewellery really took grip in the 1920s. The fashion reached it's height in the 1930's when society really picked up the trend lead by Wallis Simpson, later Duchess of Windsor, who commissioned companies like Cartier to design and make diamond encrusted insects and animals.
One company that that became a leading light in the use of new materials for jewellery was Trefari in the US. The company was started in the 20's by Gustavo Trefari, the son of a Neapolian goldsmith.
In 1930 a French designer Alfred Philippe joined the company and introduced the use of modern materials and techniques in the making of jewllery. Philippe started using Lucite (a newly invented acrylic) for forming the bodies of the insects, this gave a translucent glow, hence the name 'Jelly Bellys'.The legs and heads made of silver or gold often with added colour. Sometimes the lucite was left clear giving a polished shine, also a tint could be used with the result that gives a glow like amber or the effect of a clear gem stone, at the time an unusual and up to date fashion accessory.
This method of producing modern and fashionable jewellery was also taken up by another US company, 'Coro' which was started in 1900 by partners Emanuel Cohn and Gerald Rosenberg. The company was in operation until the 1970's.
Today Jelly Bellys particularly those of the 30's and 40's are very highly prized and sought after.