Serpents are one of the most ancient and widespread of mythological symbols – just look at Egyptian and Chinese mythology. This is perhaps why snakes are so often represented in jewellery, their rope-like bodies fascinating and perfectly fitted to being a coiled necklace, stylish bracelet or banded ring.
GOOD VERSUS EVIL
The symbolism of the snake dates back thousands of years, and many civilisations have interpreted the creature to represent any number of things: good, evil, rebirth, poison, fertility, death. While there are historically some negative connotations to the serpent, there is plenty of evidence that points to positive cultural meanings as well.
Ancient Egyptians used the serpent to represent royalty and even deity. In Hinduism, the creature represents desire and sexual passion. The Romans took the symbol to mean everlasting love. In ancient Chinese mythology, it was believed that the snake had close relations with the gods and that they were able to prolong one’s life. The creature was considered to be a symbol of reproduction and good luck.
POPULARITY IN JEWELLERY
The Victorian era brought snake jewellery into the limelight after Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria with a ring in the image of a snake featuring an emerald-set head. The Queen pronounced the snake to be a figure of eternal love. Reaching eminence in the 1840s, the serpent represented eternity and wisdom during this period and was a widespread motif on brooches, pendants, rings, bracelets and all sorts of ornemental accessories.
Whatever the symbolism of the snake, we won’t deny that they look good absolutely stunning when used as a design in jewellery.
Angela Goh (http://www.mariefranceasia.com)