Ancient Roman Gold Ring with Garnet Intaglio of Cupid


A very fine Roman gold ring featuring a round-section hoop with slightly expanding shoulders. The almond-shaped bezel is finely decorated with a crenulated collar and delicate filigree around its perimeter, now worn with age. The two sides of the bezel are further enriched with a heart motif. The bezel is set with a garnet cabochon, nicely carved with the depiction of Cupid. The deity is portrayed facing left, holding a bow with his wings outstretched.

Closest UK ring size: F

Please note the impression is for reference only.

Date: Circa 2nd - 3rd Century AD
Provenance: From the collection of a deceased London Lady, 1970-2010.
Condition: Fine condition. Minor chips to the back of the bezel. Internal diameter 1.4cm.


SKU: CY-127 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. In Ancient Roman culture and mythology, Cupid was the youthful god of erotic love, desire and affection. He was capable of making divine or mortal individuals fall in love with his enchanted arrows. 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 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 2.06 g
Dimensions W 1.7 x H 2.0 cm



Semi-Precious Stones

Roman Mythology

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