Edwardian Spider Charm
Spooky antique spider charm in 18ct gold. English, circa 1910, with cross-hatched detailing to the abdomen and a bamboo halo frame.
Prior to the 1800s, the spider was associated with industry and ingenuity, on account of its meticulous web-spinning abilities, and with patience and persistence as it waits for prey to eventually become trapped. But by the end of the century the spider had taken on a darker, and much more disturbing, metaphorical function... was it really the well-known verse in Mother Goose (Little Miss Muffet, Sat on her...) that sparked the affliction we've come to know today as arachnophobia?
19th century naturalists, having travelled far-flung corners of the Earth, warned of lethal bites from gigantic tropical spiders, and stories such as Jeremias Gotthelf's 'The Black Spider' (1842) and 'The Valley of Spiders' (H.G. Wells, 1909), gave these (mostly) harmless creatures an evil reputation. The former tale has spiders representing the moral consequences of making a pact with the devil, while the latter tells the story of a group of people stranded in a valley full of spiders, exploring themes of isolation, survival, and raw fear. Tolkien's arachnoid beast Ungoliant (and his daughter Shelob) didn't do our eight-legged friends any favours, and early film and television further cemented the spider's creepy reputation, arguably culminating in the 1990 movie Arachnophobia. Incidentally, The Oxford English Dictionary states incorrectly that the first use of the term ‘arachnophobia’ was in Blackwood's Magazine in 1925.
There is, today, an often quoted urban legend that suggests a person swallows many spiders during sleep over the course of a lifetime. This is, of course, entirely untrue. Most people wake up from sleep when they have a spider on their face.
Era: Edwardian, circa 1910
Size: 1.3cm diameter
Marks: None, tested as 18ct gold
Condition: Great antique condition
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Gemstones are tested by an accredited gemmologist (Cert GA, Gemmological Association of Great Britain)
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We offer detailed and accurate condition reports on each listing. These pieces are antique, vintage, or pre-loved, often over 100 years old so they're going to have lived a life. A healthy patina and the odd scuff/scrape are quite normal... it's part of their charm! Everything we present has been checked over by our jeweller and should be good for wear for many years to come (unless otherwise stated) but please remember to treat them with appropriate care and consideration for their age.
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