Victorian Era Enamel and Diamond Snake Bracelet

19th century snake bangle, set with both old mine cut and rose cut diamonds.  ruby eyes. The body is crafted in 18k gold and hinged at 4 points allowing for a varied fit. English in origin. Circa 1860.

Snake jewelry did not begin with Adam and Eve but appeared up in Pre-Christian religions and cultures. There are very few creatures that have been embraced by both religion and art.  Most of the others have fascinated mankind because of their impressive size or strength. Snakes, on the other hand, tend to be insignificant in appearance. Yet in the hierarchy of animals they have ranked so high that they have attained almost divine status.  All sorts of human character traits have been imputed to them, ranging from wisdom and prudence to guile and deceitfulness. Snakes arouse powerful emotional responses from one person to another. The snake is a classic Victorian motif, symbolic of eternity and eternal love. 

Small locket compartment under the neck of the snake has lost its glazing.