Ancient Roman Gold Ring with Apollo Nicolo Intaglio


A stunning ancient Roman gold ring with blue nicolo intaglio. The hoop is solid and has an ellipsoid form with angular shoulders. It widens towards the flat bezel setting which holds the engraved gemstone. The figure engraved is a standing depiction of the crowned god Apollo. He is positioned holding a staff or lyre in his right hand whilst gazing at his raised left hand. The design makes uses of the banded stone, with a lighter blue forming the surface background and a darker blue exposed through incision. This creates a dramatic colour contrast and draws further attention to the details of the figure. The visible banding also creates a beautiful effect down the exposed sides of the intaglio.

The closest modern UK ring size is G

Date: Circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD
Provenance: From the private collection of the late A.B., London, UK. Acquired before 1989.
Condition: Excellent Condition. There is small chip at the base of the intaglio stone and some earthly residue in the engraved recesses. There are small scratches over the surface of the gold, consistent with the age of the piece.

In stock

SKU: MJ-73 Category: Tag:

The term intaglio refers to a small image that has been engraved into a material, most commonly a gemstone. 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 the intaglio reached its apogee.

The subjects used for intaglios were diverse, with depictions of deities and mythical creatures being a favourite theme. Apollo, who was known to the Romans as Phoebus, was one of the most important deities in the Graeco-Roman canon. He was the god of oracles, healing, the sun, and poetry, among other attributes. His multivalent nature, importance, and prevalence in mythology means that he was a popular deity, both for worship and for artistic representation. He was the son of Zeus and Leto, and was a twin with Artemis/Diana (goddess of the hunt). He had key sanctuaries at Delos and Delphi – the latter famous for its divine oracle. He is often portrayed as a hunter, his symbolic bow showing the more callous nature most deities possessed. His gentler side is often represented with the lyre, which proclaimed the joy of music, poetry and dance. The laurel leaf was sacred to Apollo, and perhaps most famously for its connection to the metamorphosis of the nymph Daphne.

To find out more about intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome.

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

Weight 4.49 g



Roman Mythology

Semi-Precious Stones

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