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Black Enamel and Natural Gray Pearl Serpent Bangle Bracelet

$48,000

Dating from the mid-19th century, this antique French serpent bangle bracelet is composed of black enamel, natural gray pearl, diamonds, and rubies. It is designed as a highly three-dimensional black enamel snake with ruby eyes, its body patterned with fields of pave-set old mine-cut diamonds and interlaced around itself through multiple overlapping knots encircling a gray button pearl egg. With its French extravagance of design and unusual choices of elegant black enamel and rare gray pearl, this is a compelling and completely wearable bracelet for all serpent jewel lovers.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: BA-20043
Country: France
Circa: 1840s
Size: 6” internal circumference; 1.25” maximum width
Materials: Old mine-cut diamonds; Natural gray button pearl; 2 Circular-cut rubies; Silver-topped 18K gold; Together with original fitted box
Literature: Similar bracelet pictured in Victorian Jewellery, by Margaret Flower, South Brunswick: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1967, pp. 62 and 108

The youthful Queen Victoria wore a gold, enamel, and diamond serpent bracelet like this to her First Privy Council meeting in 1837, a high stakes occasion for the vulnerable, but brave new queen. The British artist David Wilke sketched it in preparation for a painting, and the drawing is held in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. The serpent has been a beloved form in jewelry since the Ancients revered it as a symbol of eternal love.

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