Snake Ring Signification
Where do Snake Rings Derive Their Meanings?; An Odyssey of Snake Ring Symbolism in History
Ever considered how did the snake rings become popular? What is the historic significance involved with snake jewelry? What is the ancient symbolism of snake rings? And how does the historic symbolism of snake rings affect modern societies? Where do snake rings derive their meanings?
My name is Hannah Bennet, a cultural scientistic and theologist in the field of snake related studies, and a member of Snake Store® Team. The recurrent snake symbolisms, from the ancient scriptures to modern organizations such as the Epidaurus symbol of pharmacy, was my inspiration to follow the serpentine tracks through my academic years. Cultural beliefs and rituals related to snakes across several cultures and timelines are combined to decode the emblematic snake motifs in its most common form, as the snake rings. Here, I want to share the historic significance and their origins. '
Snake rings were given different meanings and symbolism, depending on geo-cultural factors and time periods. From Greek symbol of medicine, Cleopatra to the Victorian representation of eternal love, symbols of renewal and fertility- snake jewelry symbolism today is a combination of these past interpretations.
This article explains the following topics;
- Emergence of snake rings in the history
- Role of snake rings in Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras
- A look at the origin and styles of the Victorian snake rings
- Transformation of jewelry making and snake rings after the industrial revolution
- An artistic look on snake features that makes them a popular jewelry inspiration
- The mythological Ouroboros and powerful snake symbolism in Greek Culture
- Snake Rings significance during renaissance, the 18th and 19th centuries
- Snake ring expression of freedom in 20th century
Read this article and discover the complete significance of snake rings symbolism;
1- THE ORIGIN OF SNAKE RINGS IN HISTORY
Snake rings classify as hand ornaments, depicting silhouettes or images of a python, boa, viper or other snake species. They are enlisted among the oldest ring designs that were once cherished as sacred jewelries across classical civilizations. However, the symbolism and style of snake rings have evolved over time at least more than once.
Some cultures considered the snake rings as a symbol of fertility, healing and protection. They believed snakes were immortal and that they became young again after shedding their skin. The lore beliefs also presumed that “kissing” or “licking” a snake could heal wounds.
Snake inspired jewelry has been worn and worshiped by numerous ancient and contemporary civilizations. Throughout the course of history, snake symbolism has been associated with many interpretations. For instance, the antiquated civilizations such as the Mayans and Aztecs revered snakes as gods. These serpentine gods were worshipped and honored as beholders of knowledge and protectors.
As the most popular leitmotif among the snake jewelries, numerous snake rings throughout history and various cultures featured two intertwined snakes or a two-headed snake, often worn as a token of love and affection. Traditionally, these designs were used by both men and women.
Snakes are prominent in the myths of ancient Greece and Rome. They were idolized for their ability to shed their skin, which was considered as a symbol of regeneration and rebirth.
2- SNAKE RING IN ART NOUVEAU
During the Art Nouveau decades, snakes became one of the fashionable elements; their natural sinuosity complemented the popular styles manifested in sleek asymmetry and curving lines in visual and decorative arts of the era, including the craft of jewelry. Exotic designs featuring bright, primary colors using enamel, paste and gemstones were also in fashion. The aesthetics of this tropical style mingled harmoniously with snakes and their colorful scales, which enticed the imagination of the most ingenious designer artists to actualize boundless creations.
3- SNAKE RING IN ART DECO
In the Art Deco era, crafting snake inspired jewelries became a popular trend, along with other ornamental themes associated with the ancient Egyptians such as enamel, favoring certain species of large snakes, and lapidary with gemstones inlaid with yellow gold and scarabs. Studying the historic events during the Deco period testify that these fashionable tendencies were greatly influenced by the coeval discovery and excavation of Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt.
4- SNAKE RING: QUEEN VICTORIA
Queen Victoria is noted as the first person to summon the snake ring into prevailing fashion. This was after her yet-to-be husband, Prince Albert, gifted one of her many engagement rings- which soon became her most favorite. This romantic undertaking combined with the queen's love for serpentine inspired glamour was manifested into a widespread demand for reptile inspired rings. Furthermore, the discovery of then-unknown snake species in newly conquered territories only increased the demand for fresh and creative styles of snake rings.
Queen Victoria’s jewelry and taste in fashion were heavily imitated, as she was the first eminent character who appeared publicly on a regular basis. During her reign, the advent of print and visual media including photography also contributed to recording her intricate appearance and exotic jewelry. Every piece of jewelry that adorned the queen was criticized and copied, but could never be equaled in their preciousness and beauty. It is said that her fascination with large snakes and their hypnotizing allure was incessant.
Prince Albert chose a gold snake ring which incorporated an emerald into its design as a thoughtful dedication to Queen Victoria’s birthstone. The Victorians had an aptitude for birthstones and favored using as many gems as possible in their jewelry. Some of the most popular rings and jewelry were representatives of personal messages, such as the “Remember me” and “Darling” rings. This style is called “acrostic jewelry”. History aside, the concern for the meaning and symbolism of each gemstone occupies the jewelry world even today.
The affection of Queen Victoria for her beloved snake ring was so intense that it even followed her to after life; when she died in 1901, the ring was buried with her.
5- SINGULARITY OF SNAKE RINGS
Another factor that explains the prevailing popularity of snake inspired rings lies in the evolution of the modern jewelry making process. Once a solely artisanal art, lapidary and jewelry making changed rapidly after the industrial revolution, upgrading the workshops into a tool-ridden realm of engineered technology. The rings are now made more quickly and easily than with the ancestral techniques used before the modern era. Hence, the cost of jewelry has been greatly reduced, making the pieces much more accessible to the public.
Elegance, venomous beauty, ferocity, intoxicating scales and more intoxicating attributes have always drawn the artistic attention to the everlasting serpentine charm- from the first civilized men until present. The innate sinuosity of this esoteric reptile translates into the jewelry that wraps around the wearer’s finger, arm or neckline: these natural and compatible shapes are another reason why snake rings and bracelets ever retain their popularity.
6- SYMBOLISM OF THE OUROBOROS
There are of course many styles of rings available for purchase today, but only a few imitate the traditional snake rings.
People interested in exotic, and bold styles are always on the lookout to buy snake rings. They often have a clear image of what they are looking for, and what designs impress them.
Snake rings that display a subtle sparkle are more popular than ever and are regarded as exquisitely beautiful jewelry by the modern fashionista. The shimmering stones along the body of the snake reproduce a sense of perpetuity akin to the serpentine movements. Although a solid ring, the spectator can almost feel the snake’s fluidity of a land python crawling on the ground, and the shimmering soft feel of its scales.
Some people are drawn to the mythical notions of snake rings such as the tail biting snake that carries the historic motifs of time and eternity. This image goes by the name of the Ouroboros, an ancient symbol that features a snake, or occasionally dragon that eats its own tail by forming a perfectly symmetrical circle. Among the archetypal representations of this revered image, the most popular and fascinating is Jormungand, or the Midgard Serpent; a symbol that blends perfectly with the art of jewelry derived from the age of glorious vikings.
Historians believe that the root of the Ouroboros symbol to have been inspired by the Milky Way. This claim is based on some of the ancient scriptures and mentions a serpent of light which lives in the heavens.
Best described by this circular image, the circle has always played an important part in ancient symbolism, representing perfection and wholeness. Particularly, the ring with no beginning or end also represents the Sun, the Moon and the Universe.
7- SNAKE RING IN CULTURES
The snake rings have also been found across various geo-cultures, including Christianity, Hinduism, Aztec, Norse and Chinese.
In Greek mythology, snake jewelry was worn to honor the Greek healing god Asclepius; he was struck down by Zeus later, as the king of the gods of Olympus feared that the healing powers of the Asclepius Rod would turn all the mortals of earth into immortal humans.
8- SYMBOLISM SNAKE RING RENAISSANCE
In the last periods of renaissance, people, especially women, wore snake jewelry to indicate their grief. Thus, the snake, as a symbol of life, had been transformed into a symbol of death. It was very common for the unfortunate widows to wear snake jewelry for the rest of their lives as a symbolic rectitude of their deceased spouses.
In the beginning of the 18th century, the symbolism of the snake transformed, changing into emblems of love and fertility once more.
In the 19th century, the snake ring was very popular with women who had a taste for the serpentine styles. Snake signet rings could be worn in conjunction with a snake bracelet, brooch or hatpin. Diamond snake rings were also revived, and encrusted with rubies, sapphires and many other sorts of gemstones.
9- SNAKE SYMBOL OF FREEDOM
Fast forwarding to the early 20th century, especially in the 1920s, the symbolism of the snake ring evolved further. This time, snake rings and jewelry became popular with women who had interests towards symbols of exoticism and freedom. The most popular depictions of the snake rings highlighted poisonous snakes, with one or more heads often bejeweled with precious or semi-precious stones. The most preferred stones were almost always red in color, usually rubies or garnets. Diamonds and emeralds were also used but came in second place based on popularity. Those who could not afford genuine stones, contented with snake rings with colored glass pupils.
10- HISTORIC SYMBOLISM TURNED INTO A MODERN STYLE STAPLE
After reading this snake ring dedicated article, you are now well aware of the origin of snake rings and their symbolism; from the ancient Greeks, to the Ouroboros of Norse culture, to the extravagant Victorian era.
You have found out about the social effects on the snake rings from an artistic point of view as well. At the next cocktail party, you can really impress your guest by speaking about the art and snake rings during Renaissance to Art Nouveau and Art Deco generations, while providing much valuable information to them. Additionally, you can now choose your next snake ring, or help your friends to shop theirs with a consideration for the ring’s meaning- whether from the mythological point of view, or modern and freedom-seeking society ideals.
Fascinated about vintage snake rings and their interpretation, or have fallen for minimalistic and industrial editions of modern editions? To help you find the best pick, explore the entire Snake Store’s Rings Collection, offering a unique ring for every occasion.
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