Ancient Roman Gold Pendant with Onyx Cameo


An extremely fine Ancient Roman pendant featuring a gold medallion enriched with a high relief double layered onyx cameo of a female profile. The figure is depicted facing right with the lower half of her face now missing due to age. Attention to detail in this portrayal is evident; the jawline and the long neck are finely carved, her hair is gathered in a low bun, fashionable at the time and the drapery of the dress frames her face below. The central image is set within a gold sleeve and is framed by a delicate border with a petal motif. A gold loop has been added to the top for suspension and the reverse is unadorned.

Date: 2nd century A.D.
Provenance: From the collection of a Cambridge lady, 1990s.
Condition: Fine condition. The pendant is intact and wearable, the image is clear and detailed. The nose and the chin of the woman has been damaged.

In stock

SKU: SK-97 Category: Tags: ,

As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth. As a result of the expansion of the Roman Empire, Roman jewellery became more and more elaborate in its designs and materials used, such as precious and semi-precious gemstones. Roman jewellery often reflected the culture the Romans came into contact with, and can be viewed as a testament to the prosperity and power of the Roman Empire.

Cameo refers to a method of engraving semiprecious stones in high relief, in contrast with intaglios which were carved in negative. Romans wore jewellery enriched with cameos both to flaunt their sophisticated tastes and wealth, and to demonstrate their devotion to gods or political forces. Ancient Roman cameos were made mostly of semi-precious stones, such as agate, onyx and sardonyx.

Weight 4.03 g
Dimensions L 2.7 x W 1.6 x H 0.8 cm


Semi-Precious Stones


Reference: For a similar item, Christie's, 8th December 2016, Auction 14573, lot 26

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