Mid-Victorian Snake Collar
The serpent is one of the oldest and most widely used mythological symbols, featuring prominently in virtually every culture we know of stretching far back into prehistory. To the Victorians, it represented eternal love, Queen Victoria herself famously received a snake ring with emerald eyes from her beloved Albert.
This is an original Victorian snake collar; a rare beast indeed. And he is an exceptional example... crafted in 18ct gold, the head is wonderfully detailed with open jaws and jagged teeth - finished in vibrant turquoise enamel and studded with pearls in three rows curving elegantly down towards his neck. The chain is scaly and tactile: cool to the touch and, if you close your eyes, it even feels like smooth, cold snakeskin... His eyes are cabochon garnets and a pearl-set heart drop dangles from his mouth complete with glass locket back that's currently home to a tightly woven lock of hair. Aside from two small areas around the serpent's lips, where the drop contacts his face when it's worn, the original enamel has held up beautifully. He was made during the mid 19th century, undoubtably in England, circa 1860.
The snake motif has meant many things - both good and bad - to many different peoples: medicine and healing, poison and death, fertility and rebirth, transformation and immortality, and as fierce guardians of temples, shrines, and other sacred spaces. Anthropologist Lynne Isbell has argued that the snake as a manifestation of death, because of our evolutionary history as primates, is hard-wired into our subconscious - at the very core of our being.
Era: Victorian, circa 1860
Length: 16.5 inches
Head: 27mm by 17mm (not including drop)
Drop: 17mm by 13mm
Weight: 28.9 grams
Stones: Natural Pearl and Garnet
Marks: None, tested as 18ct gold
Condition: Great antique condition. Wear as described. All original with a gorgeous patina to the gold
Full appraisal document provided with each item
This includes a valuation for insurance purposes, item specifics, date, and origins (where applicable)
Gemstones are tested by an accredited gemmologist (Cert GA, Gemmological Association of Great Britain)
Express shipping is free of charge and carbon offset
Tracked and insured with signature on delivery
UPS Express (International)
RM Special Delivery (UK domestic)
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Resizing takes 7-14 days
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Note: sizing may remove some of the patina (although we take every care to reduce this where possible)
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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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