From butterfly brooches to bracelets in the shape of leaping panthers, fine jewellery has been inspired by the animal kingdom for centuries. But perhaps no other creature is so perfectly suited to adorn the body as the snake, its sinuous form at once alluring and dangerous. A motif in jewellery since ancient times, the serpent symbolised health to the Greeks and eternal love to the Victorians. Bulgari, founded in Rome in 1884 by the silversmith Sotirio Bulgari, has long explored the power of the reptile’s undulating curves: the house debuted its first gold watch made to resemble an abstract snake 75 years ago. Since then, its designers have come to interpret the Serpenti motif more literally and with daring aplomb. Case in point: this high jewellery necklace, in white gold with onyx embellishments and a combination of more than 90 buff-top emeralds and pavé-set diamonds that tumble and twist. Chasing its tail, green eyes aglow, it is intended to encircle the neck, boldly, forever.
Bulgari Serpenti High Jewellery necklace, bulgari.com. Photograph by Carmen Colombo.