Roman Gold and Garnet Ring with Cupid


A fine gold Roman ring featuring a large D-shaped hoop attached to a flat circular bezel. The centre of the bezel is enriched with a garnet cabochon inset which displays Cupid. The god of love is presented facing left and slightly crouched over. He is holding a spear in both hands and appears to have a sword over his back beneath his out-splayed wing. In front of Cupid is a shield. The garnet is encompassed by a row of granules, a thin band and another row of granules. A small triangle of granules decorates the shoulders of the hoop. The back is flat and unadorned. The ring comes with a museum quality impression.

Closest UK ring size R

Date: Circa 2nd-3rd century AD
Provenance: From a private, London based, ancient jewellery collection, 1970’s
Condition: Fine condition, crack to the left side of the bezel

In stock

SKU: LD-688 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 from 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 4.56 g
Dimensions W 2.5 x H 1.5 cm


Roman Mythology

Semi-Precious Stones


You may also like…