Antique snake necklace with garnets & medallion pendant, circa 1845
In the Christian tradition, the serpent is regarded as a temptress, a cunning animal that tempted Eve in paradise to taste the forbidden fruit and thus brought about the Fall. This is also how the artists of the late 19th century interpreted it - but even in the first half of the 19th century its meaning was quite different! Snakes biting their tails - ouroboroi - were considered symbols of eternal love and found their way not only into commemorative jewelry, but also into romantic jewelry exchanged between lovers. Prince Albert, for example, gave Queen Victoria an engagement ring in the shape of a snake in 1839. The present necklace is such a piece of jewellery with romantic connotations. It is designed in the shape of a snake whose body, formed of golden links, is completely flexible and which gently nestles around the neck. In its mouth, meticulously studded with golden teeth, it carries a stylized heart, which has a medallion compartment on its reverse side. Large, luminous almandine garnets backed with foil are set on the heart and head; smaller garnets serve as eyes. The necklace was made in the 1840s. The design, as well as the workmanship and use of the large almandine cabochons, clearly attests to this. British jewellery from this decade was characterised by a particular sentimentality. Golden snake necklaces like the one we have here are therefore frequently encountered in the trade; the example we have here is nevertheless unusually beautiful and well preserved. We found it in England, where it was probably made. Comparable pieces from this period can be found in the literature, for example in David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, p. 114 ff.
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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.