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The popularity of antique snake jewelry started in the Georgian and Edwardian periods. In the Victorian period, Prince Albert proposed a serpent engagement ring to Queen Victoria. This sparked newfound and widespread popularity for snake jewelry that continues today. Here are some fascinating things to know about antique snake jewelry and its long history.

Queen Victoria Wore Snake Rings and Bracelets

During Queen Victoria’s first English Parliament session, she wore a snake bracelet. Combined with her engagement ring, this increased demand for serpent-themed jewelry of all types.

Antique Serpent Jewelry is Handmade and Unique

The majority of antique serpent jewelry was handmade. As a result, each piece has its own uniqueness.      

Hidden Meanings in Emerald

It’s possible that Prince Albert chose emeralds for Victoria’s serpent ring because emeralds are symbolic of infinite patience, integrity, and loyalty. Pairing the emerald with diamonds in the serpent ring symbolized purity, innocence, love, and fidelity. Albert chose rubies for the eyes of the snake in Victoria’s ring to symbolize purity and passion.      

Availability of Antique Snake Jewelry

It is still possible to find antique snake jewelry, but it is harder and harder to find. Snake jewelry was the most popular animal jewelry made in the 1800s and early 1900s. This gives people more of a selection.    

What to Look for in Antique Snake Jewelry

In choosing pieces, the first thing to check is the condition. Some questions to ask include:
  • Is there any damage?
  • Are there repairs?
  • Is there any wear on the jewelry?
This is especially important with earlier pieces. We expect to see some wear on a piece that’s 100+ years old. Without seeing wear, it is possible that the piece is a reproduction.
  • Even so, the piece should not be too fragile to wear. If you want to wear the jewelry, it needs to be tried on to see how it lies. In particular, check the length of a necklace or the width of a bracelet. Antique jewelry tends to be shorter than modern pieces.

Most Popular Interpretations of Snake Jewelry

The flexibility and flowing movement of a snake could be made into many different designs that other animal designs cannot be., This means that you can find serpent bracelets, rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings, and brooches.   Most snake jewelry has the snake’s tail attached to the head in a circular loop, signifying continuity, timelessness, and eternity, with no beginning or end. It is a very romantic piece of jewelry to give someone. It’s an antique version of heart shaped jewelry.   Additionally, serpent jewelry was also worn as protection from disease and is a symbol of fertility.    

Materials and Gems Popular in Serpent Jewelry

Snake jewelry, especially rings, was mainly made of high-karat gold. Some pieces featured less expensive sterling silver. Many different gemstones and enamel colorings were used for everyday pieces. For serpent engagement rings, one gemstone or a four-gemstone combination was used    

Check Out Serpent Jewelry at Beverly R Today

Beverley R Jewelry is a trusted antique and period jewelry seller in Chicago, Illinois. Beverly has been featured as a serpent jewelry expert in Rapaport Magazine. View our current collection online to find inspiring pieces, including:

1/ Snake Motif Brooch snake-motif-brooch

2/ Double Snake Ring WS9-008-3

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