The ancient Romans considered jewellery to be an essential accessory, for it provided a public display of their wealth. Gold rings especially 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. Gemstones were often decorated with iconographies driven from literature, myths, theatre and everyday life. In this specific case, the face and horns of a ram, surmounted by a star, can be a symbol for Aries, the first astrological sign of the zodiac. The constellation of Aries was believed to be representing a ram since the Late Babylonian period, and also by the Greeks. The carnelian stone chosen by the artist as a medium is not casual: the sign of Aries was known to be ruled by the planet Mars, which is characterised by a deep red colour.
Roman Gold Ring with Zodiac Intaglio
An extremely fine Ancient Roman gold finger ring, featuring a round hoop, expanding shoulders and a rhomboid-shaped bezel, set with a carnelian intaglio. The intaglio is finely carved with the depiction of a horned ram, surmounted by an eight-pointed star. Such depiction might represent the astrological sign of Aries. UK ring size: F.
Condition: Extremely fine, a beautiful example of Roman glyphic. The ring is suitable for modern wear with care.