Tuesday, September 9, 2008
THE FASCINATION and LURE of SNAKE JEWELRY
I've always been amazed at the high dollar that sellers on eBay and Ruby Lane get for snake bracelets, rings, necklaces and belts. Just what makes this kind of jewelry so popular. Personally, I'm revolted by snakes so the idea of wearing that kind of jewelry around my neck or on my arm is just not appealing. But when I saw a snake bracelet like the one shown on the right go for $1250 US at a recent ebay auction, I had to find out what it is that people like so much about snake jewelry.
So I turned once again to the knowledgeable members of JEWELCOLLECT. My question tripped a pile of answers and a barrage of photos of snake jewelry owned by various members. Here's what I learned:
"In many cultures it is believed to protect one from evil spirits" "It is the Mystic Representation of the Snake that fascinates many people. Take the Egyptians the Snake was worshipped and feared. For some it brought wealth and power while for other it was damnation. The native american saw the snake as a healer and so on. I just find the designs to be fascinating and very alluring hence that is why i am home to some 50 snakes in the jewelry world."
Jane H. Clarke of "Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry" (click link for tons of photos) has a huge collection of snake jewelry on her site, and provides this information:
"The SNAKE or serpent was the symbol of royalty and deity in early Egyptian society. Victorian jewelry often used an entwined snake to symbolize infinity and eternal love. Over the years the snake has also come to symbolize sexuality, rebirth and wisdom.
While serpent motif jewelry goes far back in history, it's popularity really spread starting in the 1840s and peaked between then and the 1860s (Understanding Jewellery, Bennett, pages 88 & 104). But as far as I am concerned, it is timeless and unique in both it's art and symbolism."
I wish I could share all the wonderful photos the group members directed me to but there are too many to include here. You might enjoy checking these ones out:
SNAKE BRACELET by ART
SEVERAL PIECES OF SNAKE JEWELRY FOR SALE at RUBY LANE by BOO BEARS BAUBLES
And just take a look at this beauty by Kenneth Lane on the left that was sold by ECLECTIC VINTAGE
That brooch measures 3 1/4" x 1 3/4". As beautiful as he is, I still don't think I'd want him pinned to my sweater, dress or coat, but then, what do I know? As a collector's item, he's worth a fortune.
By the way, I never filled you in on that remarkable snake bracelet shown at the top of this post that sold for $1250 US. Here's why it garnered such a huge dollar: it's made of 14k gold with a brilliant enamel finish. Even more importantly, it dates back to the Georgian ear, probably made sometime around the 1860's. I didn't check but I bet it weighed a lot too and given the value of gold today, it's easy to understand why it sold for so much.
But I'm sure there are many other pieces worth even more. One of the members had a fantastic snake bracelet made of 18k gold. She said it cost her a small fortune but was nothing compared to what it's worth today.
Here are some other links to some incredibly interesting pieces of snake jewelry. You MUST see these from Ellen at DEJA-VOODOO:
So after coming away with a healthier respect for snake jewelry, I nearly bought some myself but still couldn't picture wearing it ... until the one shown below came to visit in a collection of vintage jewelry we were lucky enough to acquire.
I fell in love with this one immediately. It's made by vintage designer, Boucher, and it's from the Canadian Line, LeCouture and is signed such. I think it's absolutely beautiful, and I know why it doesn't bother me the way other snake jewelry does: this snake has a large faux-pearl for his head (and tail)! Now that I can live with. I just don't care for snake heads, even if the eyes are genuine rubies (though I wouldn't turn one down if someone gave one to me LOL! I'm even more averse to that snake jewelry where his tongue is flicking from his mouth. Ugh! But then, that's just me. This one is much more my style ... and maybe yours if you can't afford those gold and gemstone pieces. You can buy this one from OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE. Just click that link or the photo above to go there now!