Perhaps the most coveted motif in antique Scottish agate jewelry is the snake. Prince Albert presented Queen Victoria with a serpent ring upon betrothal. The symbolism of the snake signifying eternal love captured the heart of the populace, and snake jewelry appeared on rings, brooches lockets and earrings.
In Scottish jewelry, the vast majority of pieces were traditional and designed for the men as functional ornaments for their tartans. Women's jewelry echoed the typical designs of the period, sentimental and often symbolic. The snake is rarely found, and in thirty five years I have had only four to offer for sale.
This particular example has a beautiful blend of vibrant agates set artistically to replicate the scales of a snake. All agates were cut , shaped and laboriously set in sterling silver by a skilled lapidary. The eyes are realistically rendered set with cabochon garnets, and the mouth is replete with a forked tongue. The coiled snake is symbolic of a love knot, representing eternity,
It measures a bold 2 5/8 inches across X 2 1/8 wide. It is completely original including the mounts on the reverse. The mustard colored agate has a small edge chip most likely occurring at the time the stone was cut and is pictured. It is not visible when worn. The overall condition is excellent and it retains a beautiful patina.
Scotland, circa 1860