Roman Gold Ring with a Carnelian Intaglio

£ 1,450.00

An exquisite Roman hollow gold ring featuring a rounded band with expanding shoulders leading to an oval bezel set with a carnelian intaglio. The stone is finely carved with the depiction of a bearded man in profile facing left. The facial features and hair are exceptionally well rendered, with fine incised lines depicting the brushed hair into an elegant hairstyle. The ring could possibly depict the portrait of an individual or of a deity.

Closest UK ring size: G.

Date: Circa 1st to 3rd Century AD
Provenance: From the late Alison Barker collection, a retired London barrister; from her collection formed early 1960s-1990s.
Condition: Very fine condition. Bezel slightly misshapen to left side.


SKU: AH-991 Category: Tags: ,

The ancient Romans considered jewellery to be an essential accessory, for it provided a public display of their wealth. Gold rings were worn by both men and women and were enriched by elaborate compositions, including finely carved gemstones. The extremely sophisticated technique of engraving gemstones was one of the most luxurious art forms in the Ancient World, finding its root in Ancient Mesopotamia. Intaglios with fine detailing were highly desired with one reason being that the intricacy making wax seals difficult to forge. The earliest intaglios were produced by hand using simple iron tools along with abrasive emery powders. Common scenes used during the Roman period were animals, mythological creatures and portraits.

To discover more about Roman intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Engraved Gemstones in Ancient Rome.

Weight 2.56 g
Dimensions W 1.5 cm


Semi-Precious Stones


Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, London, item 1880.3609

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