Ancient Roman Silver Ring with Carnelian Intaglio of Mars


An Ancient Roman silver ring featuring an angular hoop with sloping shoulders, decorated with geometric designs and two crescent shapes on either side. The piece is further enriched by protruding knobs around the bezel, enhancing the carved carnelian stone. The intaglio depicts the Roman god Mars, portrayed while standing and dressed in military attire. He wears a galea, the Roman helmet, easily recognisable on his head turned in profile. The god also carries a spear and a shield, his distinctive attributes, displaying his warrior nature.

Closest UK ring size: H.

Date: Circa 3th-4th century AD
Condition: Fine condition, a minor chip to the intaglio stone.


SKU: MG-192 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 Ancient Roman mythology Mars was primarily the god of war. He was especially important to the Romans because he was regarded as the mythical father of the founder and first king of Rome, Romulus. He was associated with the Greek god, Ares (Ἄρης). However, whilst his Greek counterpart was often viewed unfavourably, Mars was a figure of military power for securing peace and a father figure of the people.

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 8.01 g
Dimensions W 2.5 cm

Semi-Precious Stones



Reference: For a similar carving of Mars, please seeThe Metropolitan Museum, item 81.6.123