Snake Jewelry Is A Red-Carpet Trend With A Fascinating History
The snake jewelry with fascinating history will finally be seen and will make fashion to the next level. Snake images conjure up images of sensuality and intrigue in the fashion world.
Tom Ford used them at Gucci in beaded motifs wrapped around drop-waist LBDs and monogram bags with gleaming serpentine heads fastened to the fronts.
A snake is a tool in Ford's arsenal that capitalized on sex appeal during his historic leadership at the brand, in the vein of those famous Gucci G-strings, one of which recently sold for more than $5,000 on 1stDibs.
However, as the layers of snake imagery are peeled away, its role in the jewelry world reveals previously unseen depths of its mystical qualities and a reverence for its powers.
Since ancient civilizations, snake imagery has slithered its way through the jewelry world. "In many ancient cultures throughout the world, the snake has been regarded as a mythological symbol associated with health, death, immortality, transformation, power, and wisdom," Carol Elkins, senior vice president of Sotheby's jewelry department, tells BAZAAR. "A jewel in the form of a snake could bring the wearer closer to their own transformation, of being able to commune with deities on a higher level of consciousness."
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Archaeologists discovered treasure troves of jewelry from Greece, Italy, and Egypt leading up to the Victorian era, Elkins says, filled with snake rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Along with the craze for Classical Revival jewelry that arose as a result of the historic discoveries, Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria a snake-shaped ring as an engagement gift, complete with an emerald, her birthstone. "What better design for a ring than the snake, which was regarded as a symbol of everlasting love, fertility, and strength?" Elkins inquires.
Lithe reptilian symbols have evolved throughout the fine and high jewelry markets for decades, burgeoning with the rise of celebrity culture. Bulgari's iconic shape reached new heights in 1962, adorning Elizabeth Taylor's wrist on the set of Cleopatra, after launching its Serpenti collection in 1948 with a Tubogas watch. The design had evolved this time to include a diamond-encrusted serpent head with a "secret watch" inside. In 1968, Cartier commissioned a custom necklace with over 2,400 diamonds for actress Maria Felix.
Snakes have clearly retained their allure on the Hollywood set today. You can bet on a Serpenti necklace or two glistening on the red carpet at any given awards show. Consider the Serpenti necklace Emily Blunt wore to this year's SAG Awards, which she paired with a red Oscar de la Renta gown.
Snake jewelry has remained popular in the jewelry world beyond the realms of royalty and celebrity. Whether worn as high jewelry on the red carpet or as a personal engagement ring, serpentine pieces add layers of meaning for the wearer to embrace. Because of the snake's popularity, jewelry collectors and designers have adopted it as their own, most notably in the form of rings.
"There is something elegant about the way the snake wraps around the finger in a chunky, yet comfortable way," Nicole and Kim Carosella, cofounders of Sorellina in New York City, explain. We featured a snake ring curation in BAZAAR's March print issue, capitalizing on the jewelry world's recent snake obsession. Now, shop the 13 best snake jewelry designs to keep you wrapped around your finger for years to come.
Bulgari Serpenti Ring
With a redesigned Serpenti, you can bring the grandeur of the red carpet to your ring game. This ring combines tradition and glamour, with a pavé head and tail and deep onyx eyes.
Jacquie Aiche Teardrop Snake Ring
This corkscrew version of Queen Victoria's emerald-encrusted ring by Jacquie Aiche has us swooning.
Anthony Lent 18K Gold Diamond Serpent Ring
Anthony Lent's ring is a lifelike reptilian treasure with scales and crystal-clear diamond eyes. Furthermore, the slim, curved shape adds a welcome twist to our ring rotation.
Ilaria Icardi Snake Ring
Ilaria Icardi's spellbinding collection, which debuted in 2020, builds on her more than 25 years of design experience in ready-to-wear.
Sylvie Corbelin Initiee Snake Ring
We can’t help but feel beguiled by this ornate rose gold ring, punctuated by garnet stones for eyes.
Anita Ko Snake Coil Pinky Ring
In the market for a new pinky ring? We recommend trying out Anita Ko's coiled version, which is set with glistening gems that add to its enigma.
Sidney Garber Scribble And Snakes Ring
Sidney Garber's one-of-a-kind ring combines three serpents into one ornate piece. This enticing ring, encrusted with diamonds and flecked with emerald eyes, promises to dazzle for years to come.
Sorellina Victoria Serpent Ring
The name says it all, as sisters Kim and Nicole Carosella were inspired by Her Royal Highness when designing their own snake rings. "We use snakes in our collection not only because of the Victorian influence, but also as a reminder of the importance of gratitude and flow in the cycle of life," the duo explains.
Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti® Snake Ring
Tiffany's smooth, solid gold ring embodies Elsa Peretti's signature sculptural, clean design aesthetic. The ring, like Peretti's signature Bone Cuffs, exemplifies the late designer's penchant for modeling hardware after natural elements.
Missoma X Harris Reed Coiled Serpent Ring
Missoma's latest collaboration, with zeitgeisty London-based designer Harris Reed, embraces Reed's out-of-the-box approach to design, ranging in demi-fine to fine offerings. While we love the versatility of this everyday take on the trend, the capsule also includes an embellished version for those who want something a little more.
Catbird Sylvie Snake Ring
Catbird's viper ring contrasts sharp fangs with a delicate pearl in a soft, minimalist interpretation of the trend.
FoundRae Bookend Band
The bookend snake rings by FoundRae are inspired by the tenet of wholeness, which "encourages us to seek unity through growth and balance and, like a snake, to shed the skin we have outgrown," according to the company's website. In keeping with the theme, the bookend rings can be used to finish off your favorite ring stack at each end.
Khiry Khartoum II Stack Ring
Khiry's open-ended ring embraces a serpent's shape, minus the scales and fangs, for a more subdued take on the trend.