Angelina Jolie loves to have snakes wrapped around her body, so it’s no surprise that she and Brad Pitt chose snakes as the motif for the new limited-edition jewelry collection they designed for Asprey, available in the chain’s London, New York, Beverly Hills, Tokyo and Dubai stores later this week.
Brangelina’s pavé take on the snake theme is in keeping with Asprey’s bejeweled, wrap-around approach. They’re not the first celebs to design pavé serpents. Here’s one by Iman. Among the many designers to give the snake a go are Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co and Allen Schwartz.
Like the look but can’t afford $525 for Brad & Angie’s? Here’s a black diamond and sterling snake ring for $195 (right). If you can live without the diamonds, a black and white pavé snake ring in CZ and sterling from JC Penney is only $60.
Serpent ornaments that cling to fingers and arms are nothing new, of course. It was a favorite motif among goldsmiths in ancient civilizations and designers have been trying ever since to either reinvent the wearable snake or beat the ancient Egyptians and Romans at their own game. Surprisingly, given the leg up today’s jewelry manufacturers have with technology, it’s proven very difficult to beat the snake jewelry made 2,000 years ago. Mass-produced snakes look a little clunky by comparison. Snakes reappeared in force during the 19th century when jewelers took a hankering to ancient civilizations. This diamond-eyed gold coil snake bracelet is going on sale at Christie’s in two days.
Studio goldsmiths, on the other hand, are still using the same basic tools as the ancients, albeit a bit fine-tined. So they are particularly challenged. Some would say nobody has yet matched the craftsmanship and design of the finest ancient gold snakes, but I’d say Swiss goldsmith Lucie Heskett-Brem is giving them a run for their money. Here’s another of my favorite wearable snakes by studio goldsmith Lilly Fitzgerald.
The snake does appear to be making another comeback. Britney Spears and Sarah Jessica Parker were snapped recently with snakes at their throats. Madonna, as usual, was a few years ahead of the curve on this one, photographed wearing a diamond-encrusted platinum snake pendant as early as 2006.
But let’s give Angelina and Brad their props. I’m withholding judgment until I try on one of those rings, which might look pretty cool. (I can live without the pendants.) Who knows how hands-on the design process was but it’s not the first time Brad has tried his hand at designing jewelry (with that other famous actress, in partnership with Damiani). With six kids and their crazy schedule, how are Brad and Angelina finding time to bond over the drafting table? OK, an army of live-in staff probably helps. More importantly, the couple is donating net proceeds from sales to Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, a kids’ charity co-founded by Jolie in 2006.
We’ll be revisiting the snake theme on this site. In the meantime, feel free to share your own favorite snake jewelry in the comments.