Dear snake

Biedermeier necklace with turquoises & diamonds, around 1855

The snake has fascinated people since ancient times. On the one hand, it was feared because of its dangerous poison and cunning, and avoided as the seductress of Adam and Eve. On the other hand, however, it was also admired for numerous abilities attributed to it. She was considered a symbol of eternal life, the smartest animal and the symbol of the god of medicine, Asclepius. Jewellery with snake motifs gained great popularity in the 19th century. You will find numerous snake rings, snake necklaces and earrings with snake motifs from the Biedermeier period in our range, but also wonderful designs from the Art Nouveau period, which also loved the symbolic animal. We are looking at an example from the 1850s: the cleverly crafted necklace is designed in the shape of a snake. Coiled around itself, the animal warily guards a luminous treasure of four turquoises. Diamonds form its body. Two garnets are inserted as the reptile's eyes. In the 19th century, turquoises were regarded as gemstones of affection; their colour was reminiscent of the forget-me-not and so they were often given as gifts of love. In combination with the snake, this results in a romantic meaning: for well guarded and protected and eternally alive should be the love of the gift giver. On the motif of the snake in the history of jewellery, see in detail the exhibition catalogue Fritz Falk (ed.): Serpentina. Die Schlange im Schmuck der Welt, Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, 26.11.2011-26.2.2012, Stuttgart 2011.

The use of turquoise in this bracelet has an even deeper meaning - these stones were especially popular because they reminded of the flowers of the Forget-Me-Not: The second volume of the Bildungsbibliothek für Teutschlands Töchter, published in Augsburg in 1834, contains a chapter on the so-called "flower language". This flower language was one of the common means of non-verbal communication throughout Europe during the Biedermeier period, and much of it has survived in proverbs and idioms. At the time, young lovers in particular could not clearly express what they were thinking, and could not clearly express their affection and dislike verbally. Flower language therefore became an important means of communication without words. Under the heading "Vergissmeinnnicht" (forget-me-not), the meaning of this flower can now be read in the volume, even though this is actually already obvious, because what the forget-me-not wants to express in flower language is already evident from its name! It is said to be the only plant whose name has the same meaning in all languages - e.g. in English "forget-me-not", in French "ne m'oubliez pas" or "wu wang cao" in Chinese, which means "non-forgetting herb".

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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.

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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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