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The ouroboros – a serpent swallowing its own tail - was commonly understood as a symbol of continuity, representative of unending devotion. Queen Victoria wore a snake bracelet to her first council meeting as queen in 1837 and Prince Albert presented her with a serpent ring on the occasion of their engagement.

The turquoise and diamond snake necklace pictured here follows a popular model c.1865. The serpent’s head is pavé-set with circular and oval cabochon turquoise highlighted by cabochon garnet eyes and rose-cut diamonds to the mouth and eyes.

In good condition (five turquoise are deficient), it doubled top estimate to make £12,000 at Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) on June 30.