Roman Gold Ring with Intaglio

£ 1,100.00

An elegant Roman signet ring with a nicolo agate intaglio, featuring the side profile of a female figure. The ring is comprised of a flattened round-section hoop, expanded shoulders, and a round bezel. Carved finely into the onyx is the left-facing bust of a female complete with rolled hair and a low chignon.

Closest UK Ring Size: J

Date: 2nd - 3rd Century BC
Condition: Very fine


SKU: SA-63 Category: Tags: ,

The ancient Romans considered jewellery to be an essential accessory, for it provided a public display of their wealth. Roman jewellery at first followed trends set by the Etruscans, using gold and glass beads, but as the power and spread of the Roman Empire increased, so too did jewellery designs became increasingly elaborate. Different cultural styles from Greece, Egypt, North Africa, and the Orient were all incorporated to reflect Rome’s prosperity as a dominant, conquering city. The custom of wearing rings was popular amongst the Romans, and was probably introduced by the Sabines, who are described in early legends as wearing gold rings with precious stones. During the Roman Republic it became customary for all the senators, chief magistrates, and at last for the equites also, to wear gold rings.

Nicolo refers to the technique of cutting onyx agate, in order to leave a thin layer of faint whitish blue stone set over a thicker layer of black.

To find out more about the different stones used in Roman jewellery please see our relevant blog post: The History and Mythology of Gemstones in Ancient Jewellery.

Weight 11.3 g
Dimensions W 1.3 cm



Semi-Precious Stones


Reference: For Similar profile: The British Museum, London, item 1917,0501.551