Throughout the ages, across many cultures and civilisations, Snake Motifs have featured prominently in jewellery and adornment. This motif has a history that includes varied meanings from fertility and rebirth to healing, guardianship, everlasting love and commitment. The snake can also signify a slightly darker side such as poison, evil, sexual desire and passion!
The Pharaohs of Egypt revered the snake as a symbol of both royalty and deity whilst the ancient Romans saw the serpent as an expression of everlasting love and adoration. In ancient Greek mythology they were venerated for their ability to shed their skin and thus seen as a representation of regeneration and rebirth. Both the Aztecs and the Mayans featured snake gods within their religions and in ancient Chinese mythology, it was believed that the snake had close relations with the gods and that they were able to prolong one’s life. The creature was considered a symbol of reproduction and good luck.
Derived from the Greek terms “ouro” meaning tail, and “boros”, which translates to eating, Victorian jewellery often used an entwined snake, the Ouroboros, to symbolise infinity, the circle of life and eternal love. The Victorians were influenced by the treasures of Roman and Greek times and replicated many details of the visual culture of the Ancient world. Queen Victoria herself was given a jewel encrusted serpent by Prince Albert as an engagement ring. Reaching their peak of popularity during this period, the snake appears as a widespread motif on brooches, pendants, rings, bracelets and all sorts of ornamental accessories.
We have a rare and adorable example, our 15ct Persian turquoise Victorian snake necklet . Turquoise was fashionable and highly prized in the 19th century and cabochons of this vivid blue stone were cleverly used by Victorian jewellers to emulate the scales of these reptilian creations.
It is the contrast and duality of the snake that keeps us intrigued and attracted to adorning our wrist, finger or decolletage with this timeless and stylish motif.