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What Does it Mean to Wear a Snake Necklace?

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No one would like to come across a snake in real life. But people from ancient times held a very different image of the creature in their minds.

Our generation finds a snake deadly and tries running away from it as far as they can, and some people even kill it the moment they see it. But during ancient times, it was no less than a deity. People loved wearing motifs of slithering serpents to look elegant as they symbolized something greater. People from today’s generation continue wearing these pieces but for fashion purposes.

Snakes often appear in mythology to symbolize something more significant. So, let’s learn more about the lesser-known facts from the history when snake jewelry was dominant.

A Representation of Good and Sinful Throughout Different Eras:

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Ancient Egypt was the earliest known and perhaps the foremost culture to accept the usage of snakes in making jewelry pieces. In this age, snakes represented royalty and gods. So, it was unsurprising that several Pharos loved to sport unique and attractive elements to show off their high status.

But this creature was not incorporated only in body jewelry but was also in the headdresses of Emperor and Queens. If you go to Egypt on vacation, you can find cobra figures engraved onto the surfaces of numerous pyramids standing now.

Vipers have been regarded as a prevalent motif in jewelry since the ancient era. Their metaphor dates back to ancient times, thousands of years ago. Every civilization has deciphered this creature according to its way. While for some, snakes represent good, some consider them as a mark of sin, resurrection, death, productivity, and even poison.

Although history suggests the primarily negative significance of the reptile, plenty of evidence suggests their optimistic cultural connotations. While Egyptians considered snake royalty and treated it like a deity, according to Hinduism, it symbolizes sexual passion and desire.

In Greek legend, the fable of gorgon medusa is viral. It presents various vermin and emphasizes their importance. This recurring creature defined a host of items of the generation. For Romans, it was a sign of everlasting love. But according to initial Greek legend, they were stewards of the underworld and defined both good and wicked.

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However, in the later stories, their connotation changed, and people started associating them with stability and rebuilding. It thus symbolized revitalization, potency, and production. People during this era assumed that displaying snake jewelry could relieve them of various diseases.

According to old Chinese legend, vipers used to have intimate ties with the gods. So, naturally, they possessed the ability to lengthen lives. It represented good fortune and reproduction.

Next comes the Renaissance era, during which serpents carried a divine meaning. But their representation was not wholly optimistic. Sometimes, it was negative too. If you come across portraits, style, architecture, and jewelry from this time in a museum, you can notice that they all were influenced by biblical meanings, such as Adam and Eve and the prohibited fruit.

In some famous works from this time, you can notice that snakes represented evil and inevitable danger. From the above overview, we can see that serpents had a different meaning throughout different eras. While people from some ages considered it a symbol of fortune and good luck, others considered them evil.

The Rising Popularity of Serpent Designs in Jewelry During the Victorian Age:

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Snakes might be dangerous to touch and hideous to look at, but they held a far foreign image during ancient times than what they have today. Although the creature was famous among the masses, it was not until the Victorian age that people started noticing and making them in jewelry pieces.

During the Victorian era, Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria an open-style ring that had a diamond-stuffed serpent pattern on either opening. The Queen was so delighted and charmed by glimpsing the shape of a serpent presenting an emerald crown that she pronounced the reptile as a sign of everlasting love. But with time, its connotation also changed.

In the 1840s, people started regarding the creature as a sculpture of eternity and judgment. Everyone loved buying snake jewelry consisting of necklaces, rings, brooches, trinkets, and various decorative additions for themselves and others.

Although before the Victorian age, serpent jewelry was only sported by specific individuals from the high classes, it altered all of that. Stunned by the intense yet graceful engagement ring gifted by the Prince to his Queen, avid jewelry enthusiasts also started ordering economical snake-inspired pieces.

Making of Affordable Jewelry Pieces During the Art Nouveau Era:

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It was during the Art Nouveau Era that designers started considering the demands of the public. Instead of making the serpent pieces only for the elite class that could afford to buy them, they also began designing pieces keeping the ordinary people in mind. You can trace several styles and jewelry designs back to this era.

Designers such as Louis Majorelle, Aubrey Beardsley, and Egon Schiele are some of the prominent artists of the age. Between the period from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, they designed some unique jewelry pieces that heavily featured serpents. The creature was presented in jewelry, sketches, and furnishings.

But by this period, a snake’s head was employed in various designs only for decorative pursuits. It no longer communicated a powerful message, a hidden meaning, or told a tale. Before buying snake jewelry pieces, you must learn more about its designs, details, and connection patterns.

Parting Words

Some people believe that wearing serpent jewelry brings them closer to transformation. Just like vermin sheds its skin after a specific period, we also become a new person when we wear it. It reminds us that change is the only constant. We need to undergo transformation to become the best version of ourselves.

Since the pieces inspired by this creature are often wrapped in a full circle, it signifies the circle of life. It shows us the endings and beginnings.

We hope this article has taught you everything about the history of this sacred creature through different ages.

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignspolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com