As we approach 2024, we are eager to leave behind the turbulent cosmic energy of the past four years and welcome a time of rejuvenation and tranquility. With this in mind, we are thrilled to introduce our latest collection, the Cosmic Serpent.
Drawing inspiration from the concepts of renewal, healing, protection, and duality, this collection pays homage to the historical symbolism of serpents in jewelry. Before we delve into the history behind snake imagery in jewelry, Bario Neal co-founder Page Neal describes her inspiration when designing the Cosmic Serpent Collection:
COLLECTION STATEMENT | BY PAGE NEAL
"Earlier this year, I devoured Violet Kupersmith’s brilliant debut novel, Build Your House Around My Body. I was mesmerized by the rich imagery exploring Vietnamese folklore, colonialism, and violence against women. Kupersmith weaves a mythological two headed snake throughout the book who appears as a protective guide for women existing in a violent environment.
I’ve always been fascinated with how certain animals resonate in different cultural mythologies, symbolizing either similar or divergent ideas. The snake is one of the most ancient and ubiquitous mythological animals, representing a variety of meanings like rebirth, healing, wisdom fertility, duality and infinity.
We designed our cosmic serpent collection as an homage to the deep history of the snake motif within jewelry, and although the serpent is not a rare interpretation for a jeweler to take, we embraced the sacred symbol from a design perspective iconic to Bario Neal. We wanted to create a collection that would empower our community on an energetic and intuitive level during a particularly fragile season of life.
Our cosmic serpent collection is a family of snakes (some with two heads, some with one) embellished with filigree patterns, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds. It’s our vision that the serpents are emblems of rebirth, and also armaments. At a time when women’s and LGBTQ+ people’s rights are actively threatened, we welcome the serpent as a shield of loving support and resurgence."
The Serpent’s Historical Significance
Snake motifs have been symbolic representations of wisdom, fertility, and protection for a long time. They can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was believed that snake-shaped spirits protected structures from evil forces. Throughout history, snakes have been a popular symbol for many cultures, representing a variety of characteristics, with their intrinsic duality of good and evil intertwined in various myths and legends. The fierce nature of snakes drives this narrative, where the natural predators offer protection of their own above everything else.
Ouroboros & The Rise of Cosmic Serpents:
Snakes are often associated with wisdom, owing to their almost magical presence as reptilian predators. For instance, Egyptian Pharaohs often wore snake-inspired headdresses to symbolize divinity, believing it gave them the power to destroy their enemies. One of the most notable serpent motifs is ouroboros, which depicts a mythical serpent consuming its tail, representing the cyclical nature of life through the circular shape created. The oldest iteration of ouroboros can be traced back to King Tutankhamun's tomb, but its symbolism migrated worldwide, influencing the early days of alchemy.
We also see cosmic serpents referenced in early tantric traditions of ninth-century India, with the concept of kundalini. Kundalini refers to a sort of dormant cosmic energy that rests in the base of the spine, coiled around like a snake. Through tantric yoga, the serpent ascends through the body, opening up the seven chakras resulting in a euphoric, transformative experience.
Snake Inspired Jewelry & Unlikely Sources:
The art of crafting serpent-inspired jewelry has a rich history dating back to the eighth century BC in Western Asia. From there, it spread to the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, where Cleopatra famously adorned herself with slithering gold snake-themed bracelets that traveled up her wrists, symbolizing immortality. However, with the rise of Christianity, snake motifs lost their positive connotations and became associated with evil, sexuality, and the devil. As the Age of Enlightenment shifted towards more scientific ideals and away from cosmic mysticism, the popularity of snake jewelry waned. However, as archeological excavations of ancient cities like Pompeii took place in the 1750s, researchers found an abundance of snake imagery ranging from large public spaces to household shrines. This discovery, combined with the cyclical nature of fashion and a desire to connect with ancient civilizations, led to a resurgence in the popularity of snake jewelry worldwide.
In the 1830s, Queen Victoria wore a snake bracelet to her first council meeting, seeking guidance from the snake's wisdom. In 1839, Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria with an emerald and gold snake engagement ring, adding a new layer of meaning to snake symbolism, signifying unity and love. The newfound popularity of nineteenth-century snake jewelry reignited the foundation of cosmic serpent motifs, with the ouroboros symbol being a natural circle design for rings, bracelets, and necklaces- Introducing the protective and renewing powers of the serpent to a new generation of jewelry lovers. Over time, serpent motifs have only become more significant, and just as the snake periodically sheds its skin, we are reminded of our constant growth and transformative power.
Visit our Cosmic Serpent collection and tap into the protective power of the snake. The collection features vermeil plated 14kt yellow gold, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, all designed to last a lifetime. Welcome the serpent into your life and visit our collection page.