Tag Archives: serpent

Teen Jewelry

If you are a parent of a teenager, like myself, you must sometimes be wondering about the complete discrepancy in artistic tastes between your teen and yourself. I have tried to understand.  It’s as if they are a different species. They speak differently (no full sentences), they have a different vocabulary (chillaxin) , they use abbreviations that are meant to be obscure to adults (AYSOS = are you stupid or something), they don’t use telephones or even email any more.  They are considered “digital natives” by those who study societal trends and by those that are interested in marketing of on-line businesses.  I find myself asking my teen whether to sign up for Skype versus Oovoo, or whether to buy an I-phone or an Android.  In both cases it’s clearly the latter.  With such strong opinions and with tastes that differ from those that are just 5 years older, it’s clearly important to study teens because they are the customers of tomorrow. The following is a quite unscientific study of teen fashion tastes.

First,  a sense of color coordination is very pronounced it seems to me:

Blue Sweat Shirt and Matching Blue Android

Blue Sweat Shirt and Matching Blue Android

Note the bright colors, the matching blue sweat shirt and cell phone, but the contrasting red nail polish, and purple hair dye.  Note the snake ring (definitely cool) and the LOVE mood ring which changes colors depending on your mood (so they say).   Colors need to be shocking and full of contrast.

Teens sense of shocking color contrasts

Teen’s sense of shocking color contrasts

Second, jewelry accessories for piercings are BIG.IMG_1985

IMG_1992

I was referred to a website called bodycandy.com.  Although body piercing is an ancient practice in different human cultures, there is perhaps a new worldwide trend that is gaining traction. In particular the prevalence of body piercings in young teenage girls has increased and is now often over 25-50% in countries like the USA, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Australia according to numerous publications.  Is this the future?

Third, accessories that have a special or personal meaning are in.  Woven wrist bands as symbols of friendship, often handmade for someone special, are popular.  Plastic bangles reading I LOVE BOOBIES or SAVE BOOBIES are in.  They mean to increase awareness for breast cancer.  Similar bangles for different causes (or just for fun) are popular, in part because of their low cost.  Low cost is really important for teens.  Wearing a large number of bangles on the same wrist is trendy too.  While some of these accessories will no longer be popular when these teens morph in to young adults and have more money to spend, I think the principle of wearing a statement that has a special personal meaning, or a message, may remain important.  In deed, silver and gold jewelry with inscribed comments or insignia, or names of your children are already popular with young women and mothers. IMG_1986 IMG_1987

Never a dull moment with a teen in the house!

Snake rings

My 15 year old daughter is going through a rebel phase. She talks about tattoos and piercings and she wanted a snake ring! So I made her a ring in silver with a chocolate diamond on its head and little ruby eyes:

Snake ring

This got me thinking and researching on the web. I found that present day celebrities and Hollywood personalities are also in to snake rings.
Nicole Richie, Angelina Jolie, Adam Lambert (of American Idol fame), Paris Hilton, Heidi Klum, Elisabeth Taylor, Jennifer Lopez, and even Michelle Obama own serpent rings and many can be seen on the web if you just google their names.

The fictitious character of Lucius Malfoy (from the Harry Potter series) also sports a snake ring, presumably as a reminder of his Slytherin House heritage. The Potter stories are rife with allusions to serpent mythology. Both Harry and He-Who-Must–Not–Be-Named speak Parseltongue (the language of snakes) and the monster snake Nagini, has a central role in the series.

So I wondered where this trend comes from. Romans and Greeks may have started the trend, but it was Queen Victoria herself who famously received a gold snake ring, meant to give good luck, as an engagement ring from Prince Albert. At that time serpent rings were very popular. The snake motif, was believed to be the sign of eternal love.

Interestingly, serpents are part of the mythology of nearly every human culture. These mythical creatures can be threatening and bad (the snake in the story of Adam and Eve), but they can also be good and comforting, such as the snake on the staff of Aesculapius, the mythical greek healer, which is now the emblem of modern day medicine.

If you are in to psychology there is tons of stuff on snakes. In particular C.G. Jung was fascinated by the Ouroboros, an ancient symbol showing a serpent eating its own tail. One drawing of the Ourobouros dates back to Cleopatra. This symbol shows up in an amazing number of different historical civilizations: ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India (Kundalini energy in Yoga), Aztec and Toltec ruins in Mexico, Norse mythology, Alchemists, Freemasonry, and West African religions…The Wiki site has more details and references.

In current times, however, I think the trend to wear a snake ring is either due to a fascination with reptiles (my 15 year old would have a pet snake if I allowed it) or it is a manifestation of rebellion and counterculture. This fits well with general teen behavior, but also with the bad boy image of Adam Lambert, the tumultuous life of Nicole Richie, and the rebellious history of Angelina Jolie who famously once said “I am…just a punk kid with tattoos”.

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