Snakes are one of the earliest historical and culturally diverse mythological symbols. In ancient times serpents represented the duality of good and evil depending on the culture and time period and since snakes shed their skin they are also seen as symbols of death, rebirth, transformation, immortality, healing and fertility. Let’s learn more about these creatures and why they are so popular in jewelry.
Snakes in History
In the Book of Genesis a serpent slithers into the Garden of Eden and tricks Eve into eating an apple, the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. When God learns of Adam and Eve’s transgression, he banishes them from Eden and thus begins pain and sin. Then there was Medusa who in Greek mythology had live snakes for hair and when they looked at people they would turn to stone. This explains why snakes have often been feared and considered bad creatures.
But to the pharaohs of Egypt snakes represented royalty and deity and they wore them as sacred pendants around their necks and wrists. The Romans had different interpretations ranging from everlasting love to a symbol of wisdom. The Greeks saw snakes as sacred symbols of wisdom and fertility and they looked to Aesculapius, the god of medicine who had a snake wrapped around his staff- a motif that continues to remain the symbol of the medical profession today.
Ancient Mayans and Aztecs worshiped serpent gods and Hindus also held snakes as sacred, as did Judaic, Asian, and Northern American cultures, all believing that this slinky creature was an important animal that represented something bigger than them. The image of the serpent is one of the most recognizable symbols steeped in history and meaning. While live snakes typically incite fear, when it comes to jewelry there are few themes that draw the same iconic appeal as the snake.
What Does Snake Jewelry Symbolize?
Egyptians viewed snakes as supernatural beings and Cleopatra is perhaps the first and certainly most notable historical figure to wear snake jewelry. During the Hellenistic period snake bracelets that climbed up wrists were worn as a symbol of immortality. In 1839 the snake solidified itself as a renowned jewelry staple thanks to Queen Victoria’s trendsetting engagement ring where the snake became a symbol for eternal love and commitment.
The duality of snake symbolism is most intriguing as serpents are often seen as evil or poisonous yet snakes also represent transformation, fertility and healing. The ouroboros, the ancient depiction of a snake eating its own tail, also symbolizes eternity and rebirth. As its body has no legs, arms, hands or feet, snakes roam closer to the Earth than any other animal and they see in heat. We can learn to use our senses and our surroundings to take in or let go of energy.
Snakes shed their skin as they grow reminding us to let go of setbacks and to transform our energy into something positive and healing. Wearing snake jewelry can help bring the wearer closer to their own transformation. Fertility in your life can be interpreted as having children or for birthing new ideas and beginnings. Wearing a snake ring or earrings can embody the God or Goddess inside of you and help you to feel sexy and powerful!