Exceptional snake bracelet. The body coils around at least 4 times from the pointed tail to the magnificent head. The body is made of silver mesh, with every individual scale textured to give a real feel of realism, all attached to each other over the underlying spring. The bracelet is supple yet supportive and firm. The head has an open mouth with little teeth and a slightly protruding forked tongue. It is engraved with a reptilian snake scale pattern. The eyes are collet set green paste stones. On top of the head is a fabulous collet set tourmaline pink oval paste stone, raised above the surface of the head, like a crown. The bracelet also still has its original security chain attached the last loop of the tail, which fixes to a loop on the base of the neck.
The quality of the workmanship and design is outstanding. While many snake bracelets can be called fabulous, this one rises above them all! I have seen many such bracelets in gold which precious stones, but never one in silver with this degree on detail. It is truly a piece of jewelry Art.
I think the bracelet may be French in origin. It is hallmarked 800 silver, with the initials P D and has a poincon on the tail that is too rubbed to decipher
Similarly made snakes in precious metals are shown in the book Understanding Jewellery by David Bennett & Daniela Mascetti page 130 and dated to the 1840's. some are so similar to this one that I think it safe to say they date to the same early Victorian period.
The bracelet length is approximately 29.5 inches (75cm) long when stretched out. Weighs 53.7 grams.
There is one mesh scale detached at the back the snake neck, otherwise the bracelet is in excellent condition
The serpent is an ancient mythological figure that had different symbolic meaning to different cultures. Cleopatra was a proud owner of jewels with snake motifs. At that time in Egypt, the serpent represented royalty and deity. The Victorians certainly perfected this art form and took symbolism in jewelry making to a whole other level. Their hidden language is so beautifully conveyed in their timeless pieces, that we gratefully admire and humbly respect. The Victorians saw the symbol as they did a love knot, a sign of never-ending romantic love. Wisdom and medical strength were attributes of the snake as well.
I have to add this Maria Snyder quote when I see beautiful snake jewelry like this:-
"When I made this, my thoughts were on you, love. Your life is like this snake's coils. No matter how many turns it makes, you'll end up back where you belong. With me."
Antique Victorian 800 Silver Coiled Snake Bracelet