In esoteric science, the components of jewelry - its glittering gems and metals, chiefly incorruptible gold - are, in the alchemical sense of the word, the ‘ripest’ of materials, which make them emanations of primordial energy. Chthonian, because they spring from the womb of Earth, in a different context they suggest the drive of the libido. Jewelry and precious gems, which so many myths and legends link to serpents and dragons, are thus endowed with a secret of immortality which does not come from the gods but from the bowels of the Earth. As a result, the ambitions, passions and worship which they arouse suggest the ambience of Shakespearean drama rather than that of Racinean tragedy. It is as if, in this context, sublimation of desire beats its head against the wall of the human condition.
To make jewelry a symbol of the vanity of human possessions and wishes can only be the result of a debased view of the symbol itself. Jewellery symbolizes hidden knowledge in the precious gems and metals and the shapes they take. Many legends claim that precious stones are born from the heads, teeth or spittle of serpents (see emerald), as the pearl comes to birth in the oyster. They always wed with opposites: what is precious with what is terrifying. Nonetheless, their legendary birth shows that the glitter of the diamond is a chthonian light and that their mfrangibility is an energy from below. In this context, and despite their hardness, jewels evoke a passion and tenderness which has a hint of the protective and the maternal, like Earth and caverns.
However, jewelry is not the precious stone in its natural state, it is the cut and polished gem in its setting, the work of both jeweller and goldsmith, as well as the person who has commissioned or chosen it. Now a union of soul, knowledge and energy takes place and in the end the piece of jewelry comes to symbolize both its wearer and the society which values it. In every age the development of the individual and of society as a whole must be taken into account in interpreting the symbolism of jewelry.