Hidden Symbolism in Jewellery

The symbol of the serpent has remained an important motif within ancient and modern civilizations.

12/02/2023     Jewellery & Gems

The symbol of the serpent has remained an important motif within ancient and modern civilizations a like. They held an important role within Ancient Egyptian belief systems, believed to be a symbol for fertility. The act of shedding their skin was thought to be a metaphor for regeneration, rebirth, and transformation. Cleopatra can be seen to be depicted wearing a snake bracelet in the low-relief from the temple of Hathor at Dendera, now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

They were a symbol for wisdom and eternity. Both the ancient Mayans and Aztecs worshipped serpent gods. The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was the god for winds and rain and the creator of the world and humanity, and was depicted as a combination of a bird and a rattlesnake. The ancient Greek god of medicine, Asclepius, was depicted as a serpent intertwined on a staff, this image is still used today as the symbol for hospitals and places of healing.

Ancient Greek and Romans, with the romans believing it was a symbol for wisdom. During the Victorian era, serpent jewellery remained extremely popular, with Queen Victoria’s own engagement ring modelled as a serpent. Emerald was set in the head of the serpent; the eyes were set with Rubies, and there were also diamonds set throughout the ring.

The image of the serpent is still just as prevalent within the use of luxury jewellery houses the world over. Most notably in Bulgari, Boucheron and Cartier.

Lot 212 AN ENAMEL AND DIAMOND SERPENT RING, the enamelled band terminating in two snakes heads, one pave set with ruby eyes, mounted in 18ct yellow gold, size M €1,600 - €1,800



The Dung Beetle, like the snake, was an important symbol for life and death for the ancient Egyptians. The solar deity, Khepri, was usually depicted as a scarab beetle or in human form with the head of a scarab beetle. He was associated with the rising sun and dawn. Ra was the sun of the midday and Atun or Atum was the sun as it set, another meaning for the afterlife. All three together, Khepri, Ra and Atun are all aspects of one primary deity, the Sun god. The dung beetle would roll its dung ball across the sand, their eggs would also hatch from the dung ball, they likened this to the sun disk's movement across the sky and thus the scarab became the symbol for Khepri. The scarabs were seen as protection, the cycle of life and death. During the mummification process, the scarab amulets were placed over the deceased’s heart, believed to help the dead in their final judgement. Royals and commoners were buried with scarab ornaments and emblems. They symbolised transformation and birth and resurrection.

Lot 274 A VINTAGE GOLD NECKLACE, the rope link chain set with two carved scarabs in tiger's eye and aventurine quartz, suspending a further quartz scarab pendant in a rolled gold mount €300 - €450


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