Art Nouveau Serpent Cufflinks
| Two rattlesnakes entwine with foliage and
vines to form the frame of these Art Nouveau
cufflinks. The serpents are finely sculpted with scaled
bodies and long rattles as they twist and turn among the
vines. A wonderful example of American Art Nouveau
design. Created by Krementz & Co. in 14kt gold, circa
A nice feature of these cufflinks is that the vignette of two entwined serpents is repeated on the backs. Around 1900 the backs of most cufflinks were unadorned or merely engraved with the initials of the wearer. This left the backs looking somewhat plain. To rectify this situation Krementz & Co. created a small collection of cufflinks with backs that repeated the design of the fronts. These cufflinks with decorated backs became known as "Krementz doubles".
The serpentine fronts are attached to the decorated backs with sturdy "crow foot" braces and curved bridges. The rich detail of the design is matched by the care with which the cufflinks were crafted.
The maker's mark of Krementz & Co. (a stylized collar button) is stamped on the bridges just to the right of the "14K" gold purity mark. The firm was founded in 1866 and created elegant cufflinks and other jewels during the late Victorian era and much of the 20th century.
Name: Entwined SerpentsNative to North and Central America, rattlesnakes were an early symbol in the American struggle for independence. The menacing hiss of the rattle offered the warning "Don't tread on me!" and Benjamin Franklin featured a sectioned rattlesnake in his famous woodcut exhorting unity among the colonies with the phrase "Join or die!" On a lighter note in 1751 Franklin suggested that since Britain was in the habit of sending convicts to the colonies, the colonies should return the favor by sending rattlesnakes to Britain.
The increasing interest in America's colonial and revolutionary past during the late 19th and early 20th century was reflected in the jewelry of the period. Early symbols such as eagles, shields and rattlesnakes were often worn as patriotic emblems. This pair of Krementz cufflinks is a particularly fine example.
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