Ancient Roman Gold Ring with a Jasper Intaglio of Cupid


A fine ancient Roman gold ring comprised of a round section hoop with expanding diamond-shaped shoulders and an octagonal bezel. The ring is enriched by a deep red jasper projecting upwards in a high setting. The stone is finely carved with a winged male figure holding a lyre and possibly wearing a laurel crown. The figure appears nude and seems to be sitting on a rock, most likely representing Cupid (or Putto).  In ancient Roman culture and mythology, Cupid was the youthful god of erotic love, desire and affection. A beautiful and interesting ring with a nicely carved intaglio.

Closest UK ring size: Q 1/2

Date: Circa 3rd Century AD
Provenance: From the collection of Alison Barker, a retired Barrister-at-law and lifetime collector.
Condition: Very good condition. There is a barely visible chip to the jasper to the left of the lyre.


SKU: SK-36 Category: Tags: ,

The term intaglio refers to a small image that has been engraved into a gemstone and is usually set in a piece of jewellery, most commonly a ring. Such an artistic form has its origin in Sumer in the 4th millennium BC, with the appearance of cylinder and stamp seals, whereby decorations and patterns were engraved into soft stones. During the Hellenistic period and the early Roman Empire, the art of intaglio reached its apogee, with there being a steady decline in craftsmanship in late Imperial Rome, until a revival of interest with the Byzantine and during the Renaissance.

The subjects used for intaglios are diverse, with depictions of deities and mythical creatures being a favourite theme. Cupid was generally represented as a cute chubby boy with wings, carrying a bow and quiver of arrows. During the Hellenistic period, the representation of Eros, Greek counterpart of Cupid, underwent a significant change. The god who had previously been depicted as a slender, nude youth was re-envisioned as a chubby toddler. This shift in Cupid’s form seems to run parallel to the increasing interest in the representation of children as subject matter in Hellenistic art. This notably youthful image of Eros carried over into that of Cupid in the Roman period, not only in representations of the god himself but also in mythological or genre scenes depicting multiple Erotes or putti.

To discover more about Roman deities, please visit our relevant blog post: Roman Gods in Mythology

Weight 9.1 g
Dimensions W 2.7 x H 2.6 cm



Roman Mythology


Semi-Precious Stones

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