Sinuous Antique Gemstone Snake Necklace
The snake or serpent image has been a part of culture since ancient times. Whether represented as positive or negative, the icon has symbolized wisdom, transformation and eternity.
Around 1840 articulated gold chains with scale-like links came into fashion. This example circa 1870 displays a sinuous serpent chain constructed with astonishing detail in simulation of the body and skin of a snake. Constructed asymmetrically, the chain alternates in diameter from thin to thicker and back again with the thickest part worn to the side, all in 14k yellow gold.
The head of a snake is embellished with pale blue aquamarine and topaz gems – all foiled and set closed back – and two red paste eyes. Grasped in the serrated teeth of the jaws is an especially fine heart charm decorated with topaz and aquamarine. The heart retains a glass covered locket back with black fabric interior. Please note that the largest three (3) ovals are pale blue and the surrounding gems a soft ethereal shade of green.
For similar examples see "The Necklace from Antiquity to the Present" by Mascetti & Trioissi on pages 110 and 111.
Date: Circa 1870.
Measurements: 1-7/8 inches (4.8 cm) in length by 1 inch (2.5 cm) in width. Chain is 17-1/2 inches (44.5 cm) in total length. Weight of 21.4 grams (13.8 dwt).
Condition: Excellent; one minor restoration to back of snake head where it joins chain; one eye is a cabochon and slightly more red and another is faceted and darker; one minute chip to one smaller gemstone visible with magnification.
Origin: Most likely English.
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