Gold Snake Bracelet
Ancient Egyptian hollow and smooth gold snake bracelet. The scales and details of the snakes’ head were chased after casting.
Snake bracelets were very popular in antiquity. This type of bracelet was worn coiled around the wearer’s arm, the continuation of a fashion known earlier in the Greek world in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Snake bracelets were often worn in pairs, around the wrists as well as on the upper arms.
Jewels had mainly a protective function. Precise magical and symbolic characteristics were attributed to stones and precious metals so that the design and choice however, that reached the highest level of skill was the cutting and setting of semi-precious stones.
The jewelers used very simple tools: a precious metal was melted in a terracotta crucible placed over the brazier and the heat increased by a stream of air blown through a rush reed fitted with a clay tip.
The metal was then either poured into molds or hammered into sheets using smoothed stone tools. Sheets of gold were embossed and chased to produce well detailed designs and low reliefs.
Ptolemaic Period, ca. 305-30 BC. Now in the Royal Museum of Mariemont, Morlanwelz.