Hello my lovelies, I know it has been a while between posts; my apologies. Now I’m back and hope to bring you more interesting and regular blog posts. To those of you that know me, I don’t have to explain the title of this article. To those of you that do not, the title is a nod to two of my favourite things: Duran Duran and vintage serpent jewellery.
The Serpent Swells
The representation of serpents in jewellery probably dates back to Ancient Egypt. However, for the purposes of this article we’ll examine snake jewellery from the Victorian period onward. How did the serpent revival begin in the 1800s? In 1839, Prince Albert gave his beloved Queen Victoria an emerald engagement ring in the form of a serpent. Jewellery at that time usually represented romance and sentiment and this ring was no exception. Prince Albert chose the ring as the snake design symbolized the couples’ eternal love. Little did the pair know that this gift would start the revival of the ancient motif in jewellery-making. I cannot find an image of Queen Victoria’s ring, however, it’s been described numerous times and perhaps resembles the below ring.
Note: Serpents in jewellery represent eternal love, good luck, wisdom, immortality, health and royalty.
Sophy’s Diamond-eyed Serpent
Images of snakes were incorporated in all jewellery becoming widely popular at that time: necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, brooches, hair pieces, etc. In fact, in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield (1850) Traddles describes serpent jewellery while window-shopping: “We look into the glittering windows of the jewellers’ shops; and I show Sophy which of the diamond-eyed serpents, coiled up on white satin rising grounds, I would give her if I could afford it.”
I’ve always had a penchant for serpent jewellery ever since my mom gave me my first piece, back when I was a teenager (bracelet shown below). I think my fascination stems more from the use of snake imagery in Ancient Egypt than the revival in the Victorian era. Regardless of the origins of my interest, I have amassed quite a collection of snake designed pieces. So let’s have a closer look at some of the pieces in my collection.
This post wouldn’t be complete without a look at the ‘The Union of the Snake’ video by Duran Duran. So, take it away DD!
PS do you collect serpent jewellery? Comment and let me know!