During the European Industrial Revolution, people found that their .800 silver was tarnishing much faster than before - a reaction to the new pollutants in the air - from burning coal in the factories. .925 silver tarnishes not as much. Interesting enough, but we love tarnished silver and tarnish it with chemicals for a dramatic look!
The engagement ring Prince Albert presented to Queen Victoria featured a serpent motif. The Victorians considered snakes to be symbols of eternity and there are many pieces from the era that feature snakes or serpentine design.