Dating to c.1830-1840, I am thrilled to present this Continental silver gilt serpent bracelet with a secret for the consideration of my Ruby Lane clientele!
Measuring 2 3/8" inside diameter x 1/2" at the widest point, this is easily the MOST wonderful serpent-motif bracelet, and it is desitrable on SO many levels! As most collectors know, the symbol of a serpent biting it's own tail (or "oroburos," as the Greeks called it) is a symbol of eternal love. The Greeks and Romans originated this symbolism, and it became very popular once again during the Neoclassical period (c.1800), when fashions looked back to antiquity for inspiration. Serpent jewels would continue to be popular throughout the Victorian era; Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria a jewel-set serpent ring for their engagement.
This example dates to the cusp between the Georgian and Victorian eras, and displays many of the characteristics of late 1830s fine jewelry. This serpent is wrought from sterling-grade silver which has been fire-gilded with 15k gold. The head and upper body of the serpent is a triumph of repousee work, and is adorned with scrolls, acanthus laves, flowers, and engraving in the finest detail! The face and snout of the snake are realistically depicted, and the snake's eyes are set with tiny, flashing rose-cut Bohemian garnets.
As with most antique bracelets, this serpent jewel is slightly oval in silhouette, and will fit a modern lady's wrist up to 7". But wait - it gets even better! Hidden inside the bracelet is a sizable secret compartment; a feature I have never seen in my 30 years as a collector, dealer and scholar of antique jewelry! Measuring 1" long x 1/4" wide, this "door" opens to reveal a sizable compartment which almost certainly held a love letter, a lock of hair, or some other secret, romantic souvenir which the original owner did not want the world to see! The door opens with any pin inserted into the small tab, and locks securely. HOW FABULOUS IS THAT?
Perhaps best of all, this cunning serpent jewel has made it through the past 180 years in magnificently-preserved condition! There are no dents, damage, repairs or replacements to this magnificent jewel; it is as fresh today as when it was first worn by it's mysterious original owner in the 1830s! The only sign of wear is a tiny bit of rubbing to the gilding to the rose on the serpent's head. This is natural considering the great age of this jewel, and is not noticeable when worn. The bracelet is otherwise PRISTINE, right down to it's original safety chain! The bracelet is also oh-so-wearable; it goes beautifully with anything from blue jeans to a cocktail dress!
Weighing in at 17.65 grams, this highly-desirable jewel will make an investment-worthy addition to any collection of Georgian or Victorian serpent jewelry, and what a history! It would also make a romantic gift for any lady fond of the best in serpent-motif or sentimental jewelry, and will be shipped in a gift box. This is the sort of jewel I would love to keep for my own collection, but let my loss be your gain - I never expect to find another serpent bracelet with a secret compartment! Do not miss this fabulous discovery; up to 60-day layaway is available, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.
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