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There's a Snake in Our Christmas Tree!

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Victorian and Edwardian Jewelry129 of 763Thewa Work Deer Hunting scene bracelet Antique tiara comb, silver, pastes, turtle shell, mysterious maker mark.
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    Posted 6 years ago

    (117 items)

    I recently heard a program on public radio about Christmas traditions saying there used to be a snake decoration in every Christmas tree. It reminded me of this snake who hasn’t had an outing for a while.

    When I Googled “snake in Christmas tree” I got lots of stories about real snakes found in family Christmas trees. Yikes!

    Luckily there are no snakes in New Zealand so we’re safe.

    A more focussed search found that Victorian Christmas trees always had a snake decoration as a reminder of the Garden of Eden, and these snake decorations would have clown faces so children weren't scared by the snake. Pity the poor children scared of clowns AND snakes!

    Our snake is not at all scary, and it seems like he was meant to be with us.

    He came to us during the last great gold melting craze. I saw him in the window of a gold buyer who told me he was too nice to scrap and when I asked the price he offered up a pretty reasonable figure. I didn’t have the funds and had to pass but a few weeks later realised the wife had a birthday coming up and called up to see if he was still there.

    The deal was done, but the seller rang back most embarrassed, he couldn’t find it. The search went on for months and I gave up. However a year later, just before her next birthday he called me up, the snake had been found in an ice cream container of scrap in the back of his safe, did I still want it?

    I was keen because I’d researched these and found out they’re very collectible and worth a pretty penny. Even better the price of gold had now dropped and I got it for the new lower gold price.

    This one is in lovely condition, and has the original pointed tongue locket, complete with glass cover.

    The punch line is I’ve just had it tested. The barrel clasp is stamped 9ct, and that’s how it was priced to me, however turns out the clasp must be a replacement, because the rest of the piece tested as 20ct gold.

    A great Christmas present - this snake just keeps on giving, I think it's grateful for being rescued from the melting pot!

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    1. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 6 years ago
      Here's an article I found about Victorian Christmas decorations, the info about snake decorations is right at the bottom:

      I'm sure someone will ask about the fitted case. It came in a lot of old jewelry boxes I bought soon after picking up Mr Snake. It's a near perfect fit, seems like that ole snake was meant to have a home with us.
    2. martika martika, 6 years ago
      WOW !!! Love your 'snake' and the story!!! :)))
    3. kyratango kyratango, 6 years ago
      He was dedicated to be yours!!! It is such a shame tons of old beautiful pieces like him were melted and are now forever gone...
    4. bijoucaillouvintage bijoucaillouvintage, 6 years ago
      I would warmly welcome this particular snake under my christmas tree! Really beautiful.
    5. TassieDevil TassieDevil, 6 years ago
      Kiwi, this snake is just so beautiful and your story is them both!!
    6. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 6 years ago
      Thanks everyone for the kind comments and Loves. Once again I get to look at a piece with fresh eyes after showing it on CW.

      These Victorian snake necklaces were symbols of eternal love, because they're based on a symbol of eternity, the Ouroboros, a snake depicted in a circle eating its own tail.

      I've just noticed this one is an interesting variation on the Ouroboros, instead of eating its tail, its head goes through the eternity symbol (a sideways figure eight) on the end of its tail.

      A cool detail!
    7. Bluboi Bluboi, 6 years ago
      I love these snakes, Paul! Yours has an especially beautiful chain. Great story also.

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