Hold on to me

Antique gold & diamond snake ring, Chester 1912

This impressive ring with its snake shape follows an ancient tradition of jewellery design. The snake is an animal that arouses mixed feelings in many people. On the one hand, it is feared for its venom, but on the other hand, the reptile fascinates with its mysterious aura and elegant beauty. In the cultures of the ancient Orient, the snake symbolized renewal and rebirth through its ability to shed its skin. As a powerful and magical creature, the snake offered protection to kings and gods and was considered the wisest of all animals in ancient times. In European jewellery, however, the snake is a symbol of friendship and love. For just as the serpent can coil itself tightly around its victim, so too can feelings be inextricably bound to another person. Jewellery with snake motifs enjoyed great popularity, especially in the 19th century: the engagement ring that Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria also had the shape of a snake, and as a result historical pieces of jewellery in the shape of snakes are often found, especially in England. This ring is also English. According to the stamping, it was presented to the local Assay Office in the English city of Chester in 1912, the year the Titanic sank. The ring, made of solid 18-carat gold, wraps around the finger in three coils. The stylised head of the snake is set with a total of five old-cut diamonds. The number of gemstones is not surprising, as five is also symbolic here: The number is indivisible and diamonds are considered the hardest mineral on earth as a sign of eternity. Wonderfully preserved, this piece of jewellery delights with its explicit charge as a gift of love, its exquisite materials and its artful workmanship. In the age-old tradition, the ring, which can be worn by both women and men, lends its wearers a mysterious aura - an altogether seductive piece of jewellery!

A special current within the art of the turn of the century was the so-called Symbolism. Formally closely related to Art Nouveau, it was mainly Belgian artists such as Fernand Khnopff or Félicien Rops who shaped this style, but artists from France such as Gustave Moreau or Odilon Redon and Germany such as Max Klinger also created works that can be assigned to Symbolism. What the paintings, prints, drawings and jewellery designs of this period have in common is that at first glance the designs are often disconcerting or even repulsive, as there was a preference for enigmatic and unusual motifs. Snakes, beetles, skulls and apathetic looking faces populated the canvases to make the viewer think about life, religion, metyphysics and the nature of nature, true to the core sentence of the so-called Symbolist Manifesto of 1886: "The essential characteristic of Symbolist art is never to fix an idea conceptually or to express it directly".

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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