While many people hope to never encounter a snake in real life, motifs of slithering serpents have been used in jewellery and fashion for centuries and look quite alluring. Snakes are in fact one of the earliest symbols used in many cultures and religions and symbolises many different things. Snakes also appear a lot in mythology where they symbolise anything from fertility to evil. Here are some well known and lesser known eras in history where symbolic snake jewellery was very prevalent.
Snakes in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was probably the first culture to heavily adopt the use if snakes in jewellery. During this era serpents symbolised deity and royalty so it was no surprise many Pharos wore remarkable snake pendants to represent their status. Not only were snakes included in body jewellery, but these motifs were also engraved in the headdresses of Kings and Queens. Cobras can even be seen carved into the side of many pyramids that remain today!
Snakes in Greek and Roman Mythology
The story of the gorgon medusa is one of the most popular Greek myths which features snakes and emphasises the importance of snake symbolism in this era. Serpents are a recurring symbol in Greek and Roman mythology as they represent an array of different things. In early Greek mythology snakes were often portrayed as guardians of the underworld and symbolised the good and evil. In later stories snakes became associated with protection and healing and were used Greek mythology to represent renewal, growth and fertility. Many people of this time believed wearing snake jewellery would cure them of a sickness.
Many renaissance paintings, fashion, architecture and jewellery were inspired by biblical stories such as Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. In these contexts snakes carried a spiritual meaning, however, they were not always a positive symbol. In famous renaissance works serpents were included to show signal evil or inventible danger.
Snakes is Victorian Jewellery
Snakes in Victorian Jewellery
While snakes had a been a popular motif in jewellery for many of thousands of years by this point, these pieces were only worn by certain people in certain classes. The Victorian era, and more specifically Prince Albert’s proposal to Queen Victoria, changed all of that. The ring given to Victoria was an open-style ring which featured a diamond encrusted snake motif on each opening and symbolised eternal love. Wowed by this fierce but elegant engagement ring, avid jewellery lovers started demanding affordable snake inspired jewellery.
Snakes is Victorian Jewellery
Art Nouveau Era
A lot of fashion and jewellery designs can be traced back to the Art Nouveau Era of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Defined by artists such as Louis Majorelle, Aubrey Beardsley and Egon Schiele, snakes were also heavily used in this era and were featured in paintings, jewellery and even furniture but it was more for decorative purposes rather than to display a certain message or story.
Snake Jewellery at Gemondo
At Gemondo we are always drawing inspiration from the world around us when it comes to our jewellery designs. Many of our collections such as the ECFEW Cleopatra collection or the Art Deco collection features dazzling pieces inspired by snakes and other animals. What meaning will you give to your stunning snake jewellery?