What is the Meaning Behind Snake Rings?

Snake rings have been popular for hundreds of years, and snakes have been attributed with many meanings and connotations across the ages and eras of history.

Snake jewelry has been worn since the beginning of human civilization, with snakes featuring heavily in many religions, myths and folklore. Ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs and the Mayans had snake gods, and snakes were often included in stories of the Greek and Roman gods.

Snake rings have been popular for hundreds of years, and snakes have been attributed with many meanings and connotations across the ages and eras of history.  Traditionally, snakes are an expression of eternal love, which may be connected to the association snakes have with regeneration—since a snake sheds it skin, they have historically been seen as symbols of rebirth and eternal life.

Snakes have also variously been associated with knowledge, fertility, good fortune in battle and protection throughout various cultures. One of the most well-known snake talismans is that of the ouroboros—a snake swallowing its own tail—as a symbol of eternity.

Snake jewelry and rings have been contemporarily fashionable throughout many periods since the Victorian era.

Queen Victoria’s Snake Engagement Ring

Queen Victoria was possibly the first ever celebrity, as during the years of her reign both photography and the printing press became far more advanced and widespread throughout public life. This meant that the Queen was viewed more often than any important figure had been before, with several newspapers reporting on her clothing and appearance on a regular basis.

The public’s sudden access to the Queen’s image resulted in her becoming a figure of great discussion, and all aspects of her fashion choices were both emulated and ridiculed, much in the same way as modern celebrities are today.  When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert married in 1840, it was treated as a national holiday, and every item which the Queen wore came under even more scrutiny than before.

Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria with a snake ring, embellished with emeralds. During the Victorian era, it was popular to have jewelry featuring birthstones, and Queen Victoria’s birthstone was the emerald, for her May birthday.  Queen Victoria was so in love with her engagement ring that she is said to have been buried with her ring on her death in 1901.

The industrial revolution allowed the jewelry making process to become cheaper—prior to this, jewelry had been predominantly handmade and was not mass produced—so this drove the price down and therefore made it accessible to far more members of the public.

 

Queen Victoria was so in love with her engagement snake ring that she is said to have been buried with her ring on her death in 1901. This is a replica of Victoria’s engagement ring.

Snake Rings in Fashion

Snake jewelry and rings have been contemporarily fashionable throughout many periods since the Victorian era. The snake pervaded as a popular symbol and feature within jewelry, and during the Art Nouveau movement, the fluid lines which defined this style suited the serpentine shape of the snakes.

During the Art Deco era, the Western world became obsessed with everything concerning ancient Egypt, due to the excitement ignited by excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb. One of the most common motifs of Egyptian jewelry was a snake, always cast in yellow gold, such as the fine example we are able to offer our customers. Snakes are not only a charming but also unusual choice, perfect for those who adore the history of jewelry and those who prefer to wear pieces which are out of the ordinary!


Jodie Smith is a copywriter and content editor at AC Silver; specializing in in fine antique jewelry and silverware. Her BA in English Literature, passion for creative writing and fascination for the most unusual and rare antiquities, produces copy with a more intriguing literary leaning. You can observe her musings on a variety of topics—from antique miniatures, to why austere Victorians adorned their silverware in images of nude women at AC Silver.

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