Ancient Roman Iron Ring with Jasper Intaglio
An ancient Roman iron finger ring featuring a round section hoop expanding at the shoulders to a large oval bezel. This is set with a jasper stone finely carved with the image of two facing busts. To the left, a naturalistically rendered female head is seen wearing her hair tied at the back; a hint to her voluminous robe on her shoulders. Opposite to her is a male youth with defined features, revealed by his beardless profile.
Closest UK ring size: M.
Circa 1st - 3rd century ADProvenance:
Acquired 1960s-1990s. From the late Alison Barker collection, a retired London barrister.Condition:
Good condition, a superficial crack to the intaglio and repair to the band, signs of wear to the iron.
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.
To find out more about intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome.