On Friday November 20, 2020, our ever impressive fashionista and could-be First Lady Barbie Kyagulanyi accompanied her husband and Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine as he appeared before the Iganga Chief Magistrates Court over flouting Covid-19 guidelines.
Amid the tight security, the couple served us nothing less than their usual touchy-feely moments that we love (save for a few individuals out of the dating league).
Despite the tense, sombre mood that filled the Court room, there is something that sparkled more than the joy Mrs Kyagulanyi exhumed as her husband was granted bail – the gold ruby snake necklace that rested effortlessly around her neck, complementing her red Ankara dress.
This classic jewellery, (yes, classic because the first set of these particular necklaces was made in the 1960s and has carried on till now) has since sparked conversations, bets and outlandish assumptions due to its make and appearance, not forgetting its high price for the few who understand jewellery and class.
While many are rumbling away with the illuminati theories and others criticizing the “luxurious ornaments donned by those purporting to be in the struggle”, there is more to such a necklace than meets the eye and here are a few fascinating details that will get you hooked to the look!
The Ruby ‘eyes’ on the snake head
For starters, the ruby is considered the most powerful gem in the universe. Ruby is one of the traditional cardinal gems (gemstones traditionally considered more precious than others), together with sapphire, emerald, and diamond.
Given as a gift, the ruby is a symbol of friendship and love. It is also a symbol of vitality and loyalty.
The first gold snake necklace with ruby eyes was made in 1960 in Birmingham. The firm that made it was called Smith & Pepper (1899-1981).
The snake motif in antique jewellery is a recurring design and represents “Eternal love and wisdom” as per jewellery experts.
The snake has ruby eyes, an engraved head and a stretchy articulated body. The necklace can double round and be used as a bracelet too, depending on the wearer’s preference.
Rubies have always been held in high esteem in Asian countries. They were used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen in India and China. Rubies were laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure.
Smith & Pepper made a wide range of jewellery and Egyptian style snake designs, after Egyptologist Howard Carter.
Rubies along other stones make a great part of the Indian jewellery pieces. These symbolize wealth, power, and status. In Indian culture and tradition, these gemstone ornaments carry ethnic and spiritual meanings, especially during weddings. The pieces of jewelries worn by the bride signifies that she is to become a part of her husband’s extended family
In this case, the color and hue of the ‘snake eyes’ which are made of rubies determines the cost. The brightest and most valuable shade of red called blood-red tops the list. Ruby is defined to be red so all other hues that consist of ruby jewellery are pink and purple.
This is the interesting, yet tricky part. Forget our cheap, (and many a times sketchy replicas) ‘muntu wawansi’ kind of jewellery that sets you Shs 30,000 back on your wallet or even Shs 200,000 for the uptown fellows, when we talk about gemstones, we are discussing millions and billions.
Also, the quality and cost of these rubies varies with the color, cut, and clarity along with carat (a measurement unit for gemstones and pearls) weight.
The world’s most valuable ruby to be sold at an auction is the Sunrise Ruby. It’s also the world’s most expensive coloured gemstone, and most expensive gemstone other than a diamond.
So for Barbie’s in particular, it wouldn’t be wise to state an exact cost considering all the above, however, as per numerous jewellery and antique stores, the cost might range from around USD 1800, 2455, 3200(which is approximately Shs 11.68 million) to as many millions depending on the details.
All in all, despite the talk surrounding the necklace, it remains a fact that Barbie’s fashion sense is vibrant, chic and pricey so this might be just another of the eye-catching embellishment pieces that make this accomplished, established ‘village belle’s jewellery vault!