Snakes & Serpent jewellery. A history, meaning and their symbolism.
From Cleopatra to Queen Victoria, snakes and serpents have been used throughout history in the design of jewellery. Come discover the hidden meanings and symbolism in this popular and timeless jewellery motif.
What do snakes & serpents symbolise?
One of the oldest symbols of mythology, the snake represents goodness, wisdom, and eternal love. In contrast a snake symbol can also represent passion and sexual desire. It is this duality that sparks an intrigue in its allure, making it one of the most popular and timeless jewellery motifs.
Over the centuries, snake imagery has had continuing desirability, perhaps because it has been seen as being symbolic of opposite dual expressions for example, both rebirth or renewal with the shedding of its skin and poison with its deadly venom.
Snakes as a symbol of fertility:
Throughout history serpents and snakes have been symbols for fertility and a creative life force. The shedding of skin through sloughing has always been linked to rebirth, immortality, and transformation.
A symbol of a snake with its tail in its mouth or a pair of snakes connected as an unbroken chain of tails in mouths has stood for infinity, divine wholeness and the cyclical nature of elements.
Women throughout history:
Cleopatra has always been associated with the serpent and the snake appears from the very beginning to the very end of Ancient Egyptian mythology. A two headed serpent deity guarded the entrance to the underworld.
Queen Victoria increased the popularity in snake and serpent jewellery after she received an engagement ring from Prince Albert in snake form with emerald gemstone eyes. Snake rings and serpent rings have seen increased popularity throughout history as they often represent infinite and eternal love. As time wore on this influence of animal motifs increased and other Ancient Egyptian inspired pieces such as scarabs and insects came into fashion due to influences on Britain from the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Earrings, rings, pendants and bracelets:
Although rings have typically been the most common and popular form of snake or serpent jewellery, given the obvious parallels between a ring and a snake, other forms of jewellery have seen serpentine influence, too.
Snakes have been used as a motif throughout history in different types of jewellery including earrings bracelets, and necklaces. The fluid lines lend itself to endless designs from wrap around necklaces to coiled earrings.