Chalcedony Serpent Earrings

$1,450.00
About Details History
The widespread popularity of serpent jewelry is frequently credited to the Victorians. Prince Albert famously proposed to his Queen with a serpent ring that held an emerald in the head, which, even now, I find deliciously shocking. However, centuries before Victorian England embraced the motif as a symbol of eternity and love, the serpent was worshiped as a deity, vilified as an envoy of evil, and revered as a protector of the peaceful. The appeal these Victorian chalcedony earrings encased in yellow gold snakes lies both in their dynamic (and incredibly cool construction) as well as the effortless mutability of their meaning. These earrings were almost certainly buttons or cufflinks that were converted into earrings.  

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  • Materials: 9k gold, chalcedony cabochons
  • Age: c. 1860
  • Condition: Excellent - probably converted into earrings from buttons or cuff links
  • Size: 1" measured from the top of the wire, 3/8" diameter
  • Location: To see these earrings in person please visit our shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
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VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
less
more

About Details History
The widespread popularity of serpent jewelry is frequently credited to the Victorians. Prince Albert famously proposed to his Queen with a serpent ring that held an emerald in the head, which, even now, I find deliciously shocking. However, centuries before Victorian England embraced the motif as a symbol of eternity and love, the serpent was worshiped as a deity, vilified as an envoy of evil, and revered as a protector of the peaceful. The appeal these Victorian chalcedony earrings encased in yellow gold snakes lies both in their dynamic (and incredibly cool construction) as well as the effortless mutability of their meaning. These earrings were almost certainly buttons or cufflinks that were converted into earrings.  

less
more

  • Materials: 9k gold, chalcedony cabochons
  • Age: c. 1860
  • Condition: Excellent - probably converted into earrings from buttons or cuff links
  • Size: 1" measured from the top of the wire, 3/8" diameter
  • Location: To see these earrings in person please visit our shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
less
more
VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
less
more