Eternally embraced

Gold snake ring with old cut diamond & rubies, England circa 1900

This high karat gold ring is designed in the shape of a snake coiling around the finger. The head of the animal is set with a beautiful drop-cut old-cut diamond and its eyes are formed of bright red rubies. The ring motif of the snake is an ancient symbol of friendship and connection. Already the ancient Egyptians knew this image idea, in Germany it experienced a heyday in the Biedermeier period and later also a renaissance in Art Nouveau. In England rings of this kind are called "promise rings", because they are often based on a promise, because similarly as the snake holds the finger of its wearer seemingly unbreakable, the friendship or love of the giver should be so firm. These rings were often gifts of a friendship or worn as tokens of an indissoluble love and attachment. Queen Victoria's engagement ring was also in the shape of a snake. The ring we have here was made in England in the years around 1900. The remains of a British hallmark can still be found in its splint, which proves this origin. Unusually, it is set with a relatively large diamond weighing about 0.21 carats and two small rubies. These gemstones are appropriately chosen for its symbolism of love, for the diamond stands for eternity in the language of gemstones and the rubies for love itself. The precious snake found its way to us in London and we are curious to see where its journey will take it!

A special current within the art of the turn of the century was the so-called Symbolism. Formally closely related to Art Nouveau, mainly Belgian artists such as Fernand Khnopff or Félicien Rops 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".

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.