2013 will be particularly auspicious for followers of the Zodiac as it marks the Year of the Snake (10 February 2013 until 30 January 2014). And for those looking for a little serpentine inspiration, you don't have to search very far. A new collection of watches has been created especially for the occasion and there is a delicious bounty of jewels already out there celebrating this mysterious reptile.
Independent Swiss watchmaker Angular Momentum & Manu Propria has taken the initiative and created two new timepieces for the Year of the Snake. Manu Propria is Latin for "with my own hand", which is what the company prides itself on. Rather than utilising CNC machines to make its parts, instead Angular Momentum & Manu Propria uses historical techniques for truly individual timepieces, and for the Year of the Snake it has created a collection of Verre Églomisé miniature painting watches featuring colourful portraits of some of the world's most beautiful species.
Recurring every twelfth year, those born in the Year of the Snake are said to have a number of character traits, ranging from acute and aware to cunning, proud, vain and even vicious. People born during the Year of the Snake are regarded as fearless and able to cope with a multitude of stresses. The snake is also seen as a provider for both the family and the bank account, and Zodiac teachings consider having a snake in the house a good omen.
With a twisting body and endless array of colours, patterns and textures, the snake has been a vast well of inspiration for some of the world's most famous jewellers. The House of Boucheron has often incorporated the snake into its collections, and at last year's Biennale des Antiquaires, it revealed one of its finest creations yet: a diamond, opal and rock crystal Serpent necklace. Cartier is also known for its snake-like pieces, and two of its rings illustrate why the snake makes for such scintillating jewellery: the serpentine twists and turns create the perfect setting for all kinds of diamonds and, in the Luxuriant ring's case, a cabochon-cut 36.74ct ruby.
Bulgari's legendary Serpenti watches show just how versatile the snake can be. Over the years, Bulgari has taken the iconic, coiled shape and woven it into a multitude of styles and settings. Here is one of the latest incarnations of the Serpenti, with a gold curved case set with round brilliant-cut diamonds and sapphire crystal dial with diamond indexes. The two twirl white enamel on the yellow-gold bracelet is set with round brilliant-cut diamonds.
With the world still in the throes of financial turmoil, let's hope the Year of the Snake rings true and no jeweller lover goes hungry for pieces such as these.