The heart-shaped pendant crowned by an entwined snake and radially incised diamond in its center dates to 1860/70. The snake coils around itself – its head protrudes over the heart’s crest downwards.
Throughout time and in many cultures the snake aroused attention in good as well as vicious and wicked ways. In antiquity, the snake represented eternal life and was regarded to as the smartest of animals. It was attributed to Aeskulap, the god of medicine. Only with the Enlightenment and with the French Revolution at the turn of the 19. century, the snake motif regained awareness of the reformed and modern society.
In the 19th century the snake motif was considered an apotopaic symbol, a talisman and lucky charm but also became the symbol of everlasting love. Queen Victoria highly popularized snake embellished jewelry in the 1830s. On the occasion of her first public appearance after her enthronement in 1837 she wore a snake shaped bangle and in 1839 Prince Albert gifted her a finger entwining snake with emeralds and diamonds as her engagement ring. Ladies of the European royalty quickly adapted the Queen’s fondness to snake embellished jewelry and wore brooches, rings, bangles or bracelets as well as pendants featuring the snake motif – often times according to ancient tradition with the snake’s head facing downwards.
This pendant is made from solid 15 carat gold (625/000) and has therefore been crafted in Britain. The “15 ct”-alloy was introduced in England in 1854 and processed until 1932.