Thursday, December 27, 2007

Snake Charmer

Elsa Peretti

Elsa Peretti (American, born Italy, 1940). Belt, 1973. Sterling silver and enamel. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 2004 (2004.20).

With few exceptions, Elsa Peretti’s jewelry is inspired by nature or the gesture of the human hand, whether as spontaneous calligraphy or the pressure of the thumb in clay. The sensual lines of bones, shells, a kidney bean, or the drape of metal mesh may be seen in her work. In this instance, the articulated form of a snake is rendered in sterling silver. The snake’s jaw adjusts to clamp down on itself at any point of the wearer’s choosing, leaving the tip of the tail to hang like a pendant.

Comments (77)

  1. Mme Laurence Says:

    I was a devoted fan of EP from the beginning, when she did a few things for Halston. My first piece was a silver teardrop amulet bought for me by my late friend, Earl B in late 60s Detroit for perhaps, 20.00? Although my friends laughed at me, I told them: “one day her work will be in museums.” So, I was right! Thank you for including Elsa in your exhibition.

  2. Moo Says:

    Love it!

  3. giancinephile Says:

    There seems to be that certain fascination with anything serpentine in fashion.

    Cavalli has done it, Versace has done it, Valentino as well, and many others. I find a certain sensual edge with snakes whether it be a snake pendant or a pair of heels in python skin- there’s just that really sexy imagery that springs up.

  4. fj Says:

    Fashion Accessory or Children’s Toy, you decide.

  5. preston Says:

    Nicely crafted piece. Plus I like the oruboros symbolism

  6. Nancy Marie Says:

    Very interesting item of jewelry. Bold, powerful!

    Nancy Marie
    NancyMarie Paris Accessories.

  7. anna Says:

    i like this belt, nicely crafted, and the spine is depicted well

  8. Gloria Guinness Says:

    Beautiful but — how shall I say it — a bit retardataire, no, even when produced in 1973? It is a lovely work with a certain macabre frisson, but so many others have done this in the realm of jewels, from the ancient Minoans to the jewelry designers of the Art Nouveau period to Paul Flato, et cetera, et cetera. What makes this particular expression worthy of a fan’s shiver? Is it the Peretti name, which remains a considerable though dimming one (it seems largely to rest on her early work for Tiffany)? If that is all, then this lovely belt is worth a second glance but no more than that.

  9. Justin Bessaeu Says:


  10. Laurie Aron Says:

    Wear it to say, “Look! I’ve sinned!”

  11. Ilana Says:

    looks like a live cobra!

  12. Manuela Says:

    It looks so cute… Wear it or buy it or display. It’s awesome

  13. madeleine Says:

    thatd be so sick to wear as like a braclet that wraps around ur arm. or even a belt..

  14. lisa Says:

    Elsa Peretti has done it again! Zowie! how much fun would that be to wear as a belt, upper arm bracelet wrapped around a few times, necklace the possibilities are certainly endless..,

  15. CarolineClarke Says:

    Who would want to put a, er, um, snake against their neck?

  16. roxy rules Says:

    cute except its a snake but snakes can be cute sometimes

  17. Barney Says:

    I like this, a beautiful merge of different styles.

  18. Salazar Slytherin Says:

    IT’S JUST LIKE HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Lucy Kessler Says:

    That’s an interesting piece–I wish I could see more of her stuff here.

  20. Gina Says:

    I want to wear it !!!! Very nice Piece

  21. Nicole Y. Says:

    You need to add more stuff to the computer & in the room. Other than that you need a lot more light. But this is really cool.

  22. pete Says:

    it’s cool

  23. pete Says:

    I want one

  24. tommy Says:

    it is so sexy!

  25. pete Says:


  26. pete Says:


  27. Kelsey Says:


    but i wouldn’t wear it.

  28. Caroline Says:

    It kinda scares me. Its so Harry Potter. But I wouldn’t wear it because it supports slitherin house. I hate Draco Malfoy!!!!!!!

  29. amira and monique Says:

    We thought the snake charmer really had the movement in the joints that a real snake would have.I got my first Elsa Peretti piece not long ago, a silver heart necklace .All of her pieces are beautiful and they all have great designs on them.Monique enjoys how scary it looks.(she likes scary designs)

  30. donna Says:

    I love this belt. It is beautiful and functional.

  31. Isabelle Says:

    I thought that this was a beautiful piece of jewelry.

  32. Sammy Grob Says:

    There’re really crazy dresses. And the hats are hysterical! But they are pretty!

  33. sceptic... Says:

    it’s a toy…

  34. Jason Says:

    SHINY. Besides that, it looks kinda cool.

  35. Ilske Thomsen Says:

    As the onliest jewellery on a black trouser and black pull I would like to wear this belt .

  36. Michael Says:

    this very amazing …………………………………………………………….. i would luv to be a clothing DESIGNER just amazing i design my own clothing

  37. Jason Says:


  38. William Bigio Says:

    It is cool because is a sort of gold kind of color. It looks like it is moving.

  39. Lily Monir Matini, Esq. Says:

    great choice of metal for the snake’s body

  40. morey manyoky Says:

    Some of the pieces including the necklaces are delightfully outrageous. Humour in design is a wonderful contribution to expanding culture and interest for the new museum going generation. Right on!!!

  41. vanessa hudgens (baaaaby v) Says:

    OMG!! NO WAY!! I’ve always wanted something like that!!! SOOOOOOOO cute!!!!

  42. DoDo Says:

    The snake seems so real cause of the used materials - it seems as she would begin to move in some seconds…

  43. Cr0w Says:

    I quite enjoy this piece, its design, its look, and its symbolism.
    I understand that some may think that the snake has been done and why not find something more creative, but I put forward the thought, must every single piece a designer makes be completely original in all ways? And those that aren’t, do they not deserve the same recognition as those that are?
    I think that some of the draw to this piece is the connection to symbols throughout history. That gives the piece more meaning. Meanwhile, though the design is not unique, it is desirable.
    Would I wear it? yes.

  44. HARRIS Says:


  45. cooolio Says:

    very cool and a great design

  46. sean bernieri Says:

    the snake charmer is one of the most beautiful things i have ever saw. i think it is marvoulious!

  47. Isleny Says:

    The snake belt is very edgy. I could see myself wearing it on a night out.
    Since its sterling silver it gives it a extra of glam to an outfit. Plus since you can adjust the jaw to pin itslef makes it so much convient.

  48. mike jackson Says:

    snake belt nice very ugly

  49. TDM Says:

    where can i order one?

  50. elsapapparazzi Says:

    Elsa, you are the next Tiffany! Where are you now?

  51. Miley101 Says:

    COOL!!!!! It is very shiny and kind of looks real except for the silver color!!!!

  52. Abigail Says:

    This was an amazing Idea that no one else that I know of with come up with this design

  53. Beth Says:

    I really like this belt and would wear it today if I could. I think it is interesting how snakes have been used as a motif in fashion throughout time. Ancient Egyptians often had accessories that were serpent designs and similar designs have appeared over and over again. I even own a snake bracelet which I purchases less than a year ago which shows the timelessness of this design.

  54. kenscott Says:

    i hate snakes but for some reason this piece attracks me. this is one of the coolest pieces of jewlery in the house

  55. tenzin yangchen Says:

    interesting and freakishly cool.

  56. John Weiss Says:

    OMG i love it…would be perfect for a night alone with me and my lover

  57. Henry Vumbaca Says:

    Thats so cool i wish i could have it but it probly cost like 9999999$ lol

  58. Jess Says:

    um……How do you wear it?

  59. Fancy Prancy Pony:) Says:

    Looks like something that would eat you if you werent carefull. i think it would be scary to see someone try to swallow it :-) (lol)

  60. andree Says:

    I admire this kind of very technical work thst looks so simple. The clamp on the jaw of the snake is completely invisible and incredibly concieved. The linking of the vertibrae is beautifully assembled and polished. An incredible piece of work not to mention a fabulous accessory.

  61. Ebony Chisholm Says:

    I think the Chanels boots are very nice, and interesting, I would differently wear those.These boots are a winner, fabulous accessory to view, incredible work.

  62. Jennelle Says:

    I think that this Snake Charmer is beautiful! I would were one to school everyday. It looks so cool!

  63. Lady V Says:

    the Snake Charmer was the main piece of jewelry that caught my attention in this whole museum. It was beautiful and the face of the snake just made it seem even more interesting to look at. It amazes me how this beautiful work of art was hand made. it must have took alot of time and patience and i give a lot of credit to Elsa Peretti, for I know she put a lot of time and effort into making this work of art. I congradulate her. Even after reading it, I was more interested in learning even more about what her stroy of creating this Snake Charmer was.

  64. Charlotte Says:

    fab. simple & elegant at the same time.

  65. Anne Says:

    This is very strange I do not know why anyone would ever want to make this!

  66. Ines Flores Says:

    Loved all the dresses, especially the Ives Saint Laurent. Thi is a sample to confirm that fashion is always in fashion!!!

  67. Mimi Says:

    its sorta strange, doesnt look that nice!!

  68. Mimi Says:

    it needs a make-over its real creepy

  69. xx Erika xx Says:

    Out of all the pieces featured in the exhibt that caught my eye, I would say this was the one I liked most. It’s bold, and in my opinion quite pretty. Mind you, I would never wear this myself; but I can easily see why it seems so popular.

    ~Erika []

  70. meimi1995529 Says:

    Really cool!!! I would toootally wear this its great!!!!!

  71. roie82495 Says:

    This is kinda weird! Not something I would wear but it is clever

  72. fashizzle Says:

    SO COOL! I am like a total snake fan.i wouldn’t wear it ’cause it would bite me. Get it? I made a Pun! HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW! but i like, think the person who designed this has great taste.

  73. Bob Says:

    Wowza. Nice! Very Lucius Malfoy. It’s kinda scary though 0_0

  74. bob bobbertson Says:

    looks more like a whip for girls do seduce men. looks scary. i would be scared,.

  75. Anna Says:


  76. Haley Loraine Says:

    this accessory is quite unique … it is innovative how the snake’s mouth is the clasp for the charm so you can vary the lengths … it would be interesting to see what other items this designer has made based on her use of nature in her works. Although I find it intriguing, I do not think that I would ever wear it, with my fear of snakes!… hehe..

  77. jigin bakudan Says:

    this charms my snake

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