Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wise as a Serpent

Vintage 1940s Sterling Silver Snake Bracelet by Forstner $175

I feel as though I've been threatening to post about snakes for weeks now, but I've just been compiling more and more. After digging through all my loose jpegs, I finally found some great snake and serpent themed pieces. But first, a little about the snake:

Victorian Serpent Rose Cut Diamond necklace $3995 (

The snake, though considered evil in Western mythologies, is actually recognized elsewhere as a symbol of sexuality; psychic energy, or the power of Nature; intuitive wisdom; the unconscious. It also exemplifies new life, rejuvenation, healing due to the fact that snakes shed their old skin to reveal a new. The evil probably sources from the Garden of Eden bible passage (and I guess a little Harry potter as well), which also covers the sexuality and knowledge.

Vintage Coiled Snake Ring $611 (

From the Holisticshop Dictionary:
The snake or serpent is one of the oldest and most complex of symbols. The underlying representations throughout the many meanings are paradoxical – part protective, part destructive. It’s a source of strength and power, yet also potentially dangerous.

Queen of Scots Necklace, $5400 by Wendy Brandes of Gigi Caron

In Egypt, an upright hooded cobra snake was a powerful protective symbol. It formed the uraeus of diadem of the pharaohs, representing their royal power and ability to strike down any enemies. Egyptians used similar images of a lion-headed snake as a sign of solar guardianship. In India, cobra divinities were also used as symbols of guardians, with a seven-hooded cobra often seen shielding Buddha.

Victorian Serpent Brooch $2100 (

In African and Native American legends snakes are often depicted as ancestor figures, and in magic and some religions, the image of a snake represents the universal life force, and sometimes the creator itself. A more positive snake image is that of the caduceus – the staff of Hermes, which is entwined with snakes. The psychologist Carl Jung adopted the emblem as a representation of homeopathic medicine and it’s still used today.

Victorian Entangled Snake Ring $1200 (

The shedding of a snake’s skin highlights the notion of life, death and rebirth. According to Native American beliefs, it is the energy of wholeness, the knowledge that all things are equal and the notion that good things do come of bad. It also represents the ability to experience anything without resistance. For individuals, they believe snakes represent the fact that we’re all universal beings. It can also signify the need to transmute thoughts, actions or desires.

Diamond Cartier Snake made with 2,473 diamonds

Famous Mexican movie star Maria Felix had Cartier make this snake for her (above) in 1968, along with the earrings and bracelets in the picture below. Talk about somebody being comfortable with her style! Felix had the most incredible jewelry and clothing and, maybe a bit unsurprisingly, she was known as something of diva. How could anybody not be a diva with earrings like these?

Do you see those gators around her neck?
Anyhow, I'm really glossing over this topic and have posted mostly vintage pieces, but there's some interesting modern snake jewelry out there. This week I'll be posting Celtic jewelry, which is very serpent heavy, hence the omission on this post.
Also, Amazon is calling this the year of the snake, so... there you go.


WendyB said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE those Maria Felix pieces. I've seen the top picture before but not the bottom one. The drama! And the gator...too much! I need a client like that! I would worship her like a goddess! A sense of adventure plus a very large doesn't get any better than that. The Cartier piece is amazing. It would be fun to see that in person.

In Yr Fshn said...

Did you know that she walked it to Cartier unannounced with a live gator? To copy from! She's a wonderful character and gorgeous to boot. I think the Cartier pieces travel so they might hit NY or LA. The house of Cartier ha been buying back all of their ridiculous and famous pieces to show. I love that last picture too: the black & white, the cigarette, the coils of her earrings... sigh.