|Victorian Serpent Ring|
Photo Source: Pamela Love/Polyvore
by Angela Magnotti Andrews
Prince Albert once again broke with tradition. Rather than presenting Victoria with one of the typical half hoop gemstone and diamond rings popular for betrothal rings, he personally designed Queen Victoria’s engagement ring. He fulfilled his intention to thoroughly enchant her when he fashioned the band into a gold serpent biting its tail.
This symbol of eternal love was further branded with a verdant green emerald atop its head. Emeralds, the symbol of hope, were not only the Queen’s birthstone, but were also endowed with the power of ensuring that a woman would become a loving wife.
Victoria and Albert’s passion for jewelry and jewelry design influenced an entire generation of Romantics. These new Romantics drew from the resources available, including both high- and low-karat gold, silver, rose gold, and pinchbeck (imitation gold made of zinc and copper), they fashioned bold and intricate settings of hearts, bows, or flowers.
As a rule, Early Victorian Era wedding rings were as ornate and whimsical as the young Queen who inspired them and as sentimental and distinguished as her Prince who lavished his bride with copious gifts of jeweled creations of his own design. Not only did Albert’s serpent motif become a mainstay of early Victorian betrothal rings, but soon other natural motifs, including butterflies, daisies, doves, and butterflies, made their debut.
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