The great seduction

Antique snake brooch with sapphire, rubies & diamonds in gold, around 1880

For thousands of years, people have adorned their bodies with golden snakes. Be it in the form of rings, necklaces or bracelets, because its elegant, supple body makes the snake a particularly pictorial motif. Their symbolism is also fascinating: As ouroboros, two snakes intertwined symbolized eternity, so snake jewelry became an expression of eternal love in the Biedermeier era. At the same time, however, the snake was regarded in the Christian world as the temptress of Eve, and so towards the end of the 19th century snake jewelry also became established, which was intended to emphasize the 'dangerous' beauty of the femme fatale. The snake brooch presented here is a special representative of this ancient jewelry genre. We see an elegantly coiled animal made of gold. An additional fine gilding makes the reptile appear especially rich and velvety. One half of the body is martellated, while the other half forms the scale mantle with a fine engraving. The head is set with glittering diamond roses and bears a blue sapphire in the center. Small rubies mark the eyes. The beautiful preserved brooch was created in the years around 1880 and found its way to us from Hamburg. It is a beautiful as well as unusual eye-catcher to many outfits.

In terms of dazzling ambiguity, the serpent surpasses every other animal in mythology. According to the Bible's creation account, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden at the beginning and were happy in harmony with nature and all other living creatures - until the devilish serpent came into play. The treacherous creeping creature persuaded Eve to nibble from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, contrary to God's command, which meant expulsion from paradise and the demise of innocence. On the one hand, the serpent was considered dangerous and unpredictable and was feared for its venom. On the other hand, it was admired for its mysterious beauty and its shedding symbolized renewal and rebirth. Its alleged magic and power made the reptile in pre-Christian cultures as if made to grant the protection of the gods as well as the kings and in this function decorated the headscarf of the pharaohs. But the snake also stands at the end of ancient Egyptian history: In 30 B.C., Cleopatra committed suicide by biting a snake in front of the advancing Romans, ending the 3000-year history of the Pharaonic Empire.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.


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.