What is our fascination with the slithery snake? You may love serpents or hate them and find them downright scary but decorated forms of this creature were commonplace in antiquity and continue to play a reoccurring role in art today.
Serpents (or snakes) are one of the oldest celebrated symbols, widely seen in sculptures, architectural features and my personal favorite, jewelry motifs. Perhaps its movement lends itself well to jewelry, allowing bracelets, rings and necklaces to be wrapped or coiled in an organic flowing design.Folklore of the serpent is as uniquely diverse as the art, thought to represent good or evil, and everything in between.
With the shedding of their skin, these reptiles are historically associated with fertility, rebirth, and transformation. The venom relates to life and death, representing the power to poison and heal. In modern medicine the caduceus, (the origin of which can be traced back to Greek Mythology) is connected with the deity of healing and medicine and displays two snakes encircled around a winged staff. Ancient rulers and heroines of mythology such as Cleopatra and Medusa are famously linked with the deadly serpent.
Admiration for the snake continued during the archeological discoveries of Egyptian tombs, with the image of the cobra (or Asp) representing royalty. Another famous image was the ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail, thought to be a symbol of eternal life. In more recent times the intrigue of the snake has grown, gaining popularity during the Victoria era and becoming a prominent figure of the
Romantic Movement. It is said that in 1840 Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria with a snake engagement ring adorned with an emerald head. This was considered a symbol of eternal love with origins dating back to the ancient Romans. During the Art Nouveau (“new art”) movement, the serpent was a noticeable theme with the spiral or coiled movement inspiring growth and journey and capturing the spirit of nature.
Take a look at some of these amazing works of wearable art I found in my research. Would these convince you to wear serpent-inspired jewelry?