Yep, it's a real beastie. You can purchase them at places like
Evolution in NYC, where you can also buy just the iridescent wings of
another type of beetle. I don't frankly know whether jewelers of the
time simply dried the dead beetles or whether they might have
injected the body with some sort of stabilizer such as wax. However,
scarab-beetle jewelry exists going back centuries (Egyptians) and
seems to have held up pretty well.
I've worked with the wings themselves rather than the whole beetle.
They are quite brittle to work with, but should hold up pretty well
with appropriate care. Scarab beetle jewelry was quite popular in a
couple of trendy periods, including the 20s, with the whole
Hope this helps!
No Limitations Designs