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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Archive : Gold Ring Featuring a Roman Carnelian Intaglio of an Emperor
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Gold Ring Featuring a Roman Carnelian Intaglio of an Emperor - FJ.6437
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD

Catalogue: V25
Collection: Jewelry
Medium: Carnelian and Gold

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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This genuine Ancient Roman carnelian intaglio, depicting either the Emperor Antoninus Pius or Marcus Aurelius, has been set in a modern 18 karat gold ring.

The art of glyptics, or carving on colored precious stones, is probably one of the oldest known to humanity. Intaglios, gems with an incised design, were made as early as the fourth and third millennia BC in Mesopotamia and Aegean Islands. They display a virtuosity of execution that suggests an old and stable tradition rooted in the earliest centuries. The tools required for carving gems were simple: a wheel with a belt-drive and a set of drills. Abrasives were necessary since the minerals used were too hard for a metal edge. A special difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature size, was that the master had to work with a mirror-image in mind.

Both Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius were favorites of the emperor Hadrian. In A.D.138 Hadrian asked Pius to adopt Marcus, thus setting in motion an easy succession to the throne. The period of rule from A.D.117-180 is known as a Golden Age of prosperity and peace, the like of which has rarely been seen in human history. This lovely intaglio depicts a distinguished man wearing curled beard and a laurel wreath. In the imperial age intaglio rings were often given by the emperor to his favorites at court. Perhaps this intaglio adorned the hand of a nobleman or intimate of the emperor, worn proudly to proclaim allegiance; just as it can be worn proudly today as an object of beauty.
- (FJ.6437)


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