Ancient Roman Gold Ring with Black Calcedony Intaglio of Dioscuri


An ancient Roman gold ring featuring a round-section hoop and a tall oval bezel. This is set with a black calcedony stone, finely carved with the image of a Dioscuri facing left. Portrayed as a naked youth, the Dioscuri wears a long cape and a galea, the Roman helmet, easily recognisable on his head turned in profile. He also holds a large shield to his left side, whilst a horse, his distinctive attribute, is seen to his right.

Closest UK ring size: J 1/2.

Date: Circa 3th-4th century AD
Provenance: From a collection of ancient rings, 1980s.
Condition: Good condition, some signs of ageing to the gold consistent with age.

In stock

SKU: MG-345 Category: Tags: , , , ,

The term intaglio refers to a small image that has been engraved into a gemstone and usually set in a piece of jewellery, most commonly a ring. Such 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 the late Imperial Rome, until a revival of interest with the Byzantine and during the Renaissance.

The subject used for intaglios are diverse, with depictions of deities being a favourite theme. In Greek and Roman mythology, ‘Dioscuri’ (Διόσκουροι) is the name used to identify the twin half-brothers Castor (Κάστωρ) and Pollux (Πολυδεύκης – Polydeuces), sons of Leda and Tyndareus, King of Sparta, and Zeus respectively. They were regarded as patrons of humankind and protectors of travellers and sailors. Consistently associated with horses in classical arts and literature, their typical iconography sees them portrayed as helmeted horsemen holding a spear.

To find out more about intaglios and Roman gods, please visit our relevant blog posts: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome and Roman Gods in Mythology.

Weight 1.83 g
Dimensions W 1.7 cm

Semi-Precious Stones



Greek Mythology

You may also like…