With terrific antique pieces like this one getting harder and harder to find, I'm truly lucky to be offering this beautiful snake bracelet from England.
Dating to 1901, the bracelet features a finely engraved snake head attached to the end of a terrific, 3 mm-wide scale-like gold chain. The snake is holding a puffy heart in its mouth; the heart is embellished with what looks like a tiny faceted blue sapphire surrounded by 6 seed pearls. The sentimental reference is quite evident! This heart does not open.
Animal jewelry has been worn since the earliest times due to magical beliefs associated with certain creatures, and it was used as a talisman to ward off evil spirits. The Victorians seemed to embrace all types of animals, including snakes, insects, frogs, bees and lizards. The serpent was definitely a favourite. Most snake jewelry (including this one) was fastened tail-to-mouth, which represented infinity or wholeness (from the Greek "ouroboros," oura=tail, boros=eating).
One of the unusual things about this bracelet is its size--8&1/2"-- including the heart charm. In a world of doll-size wrists, this bracelet would be considered huge by Victorian standards!
This style of bracelet needs to fit fairly snug for it to sit properly. It would be too large for wrists under 6 ", but if yours is between 6&1/2"-7"1/2", it should fit fine. I would think 7" would be ideal.
Now to the particulars: bracelet is made from solid 9k yellow gold and it weighs 10.0 grams. Excellent condition. No damage that I can see, only light wear. The heart does need a good professional cleaning, but it should be done very carefully. Clasp is in good working order. No dents or cracks.
The back of the heart is stamped with the Chester Assay Office mark, "9, 375", and date letter "A" for 1901. It also bears the maker's mark, "C&A."