This sinuous serpent ring is modeled in buttery 18k yellow gold with a single .17ct round brilliant cut diamond set at the crest of its head. The coiled snake (more specifically, the ouroboros) is a powerful symbol across many cultures. The first known ouroboros imagery, where a snake is depicted eating its own tail, appeared in Egypt in the 14th century BC. For these ancient Egyptians, the circular reptile shape symbolized Ra and Osiris. Ancient Greeks used the ouroboros to denote the first earthly being. The gnostics used it as a symbol of the soul of the world, and the list goes on. Eerily, many cultures have independently "invented" the elegant ouroboros image to symbolize a version of the same universal idea: there's an eternal cycle of life and death, re-creation and return, a wheel turning forever and ever. Beginning in the Georgian period, the snake was frequently used in jewelry as an intimate expression of eternity and endless love and this is the association with serpents in jewelry that has persisted into the present day. This piece would make for a killer alternative engagement ring.
RETRO (1935 - 1945)
World War II marked the shift from Art Deco to retro, as yet another war (and the subsequent materials rations) dictated what was available on the jewelry market. Platinum was reserved for military use, so jewelers began relying heavily on gold and experimenting with colored alloys and different finishes. Retro jewelry designs are marked by asymmetry, motifs borrowed from industrial design, and exaggerated scale.
Thanks to a hugely successful advertising campaign begun in the 1940s and funded by De Beers, the phrase “a diamond is forever” was coined and diamond rings were touted as the ONLY acceptable type of engagement ring. Carefully worded ads instructed men on how to choose a stone, and what to spend (“two months salary!”). The Gemological Institute of America developed the so-called “4Cs” of diamond grading, which was a scientific system for measuring the color, clarity, cut and carat weight of every single diamond.
The costume jewelry industry, having only been established a few decades before, began to flourish. Centered in Providence, Rhode Island, and surrounding New England towns, companies like Trifari, Monet, Hobe, and Vendome prospered as consumers gobbled up inexpensive machine-made jewels.