Ancient Greek Electrum and Gold Ring with Astakos Intaglio

£ 6,500.00

A large sized, finely detailed Ancient Greek personal seal ring, made from electrum and gold. The ring features a circular shape with expanding, flanged shoulders. The tiered trumpet oval bezel is set with a banded chalcedony intaglio, naturalistically depicting a lobster or crayfish, both known as αστακός in Ancient Greek. UK ring size: W. Weight: 16.1 g.

Date: Circa 5th-3rd century BC.
Provenance: From an important private London collection, acquired prior 1970s.
Condition: Extremely fine, the intaglio is slightly loose in its setting. The ring is suitable for modern wear with care.
Product Code: GS-54
Category: Tags: ,

Seal rings were used as a signature and a proof of authenticity in ancient times. The pattern they contained was printed on the wax or clay that was sealing the important documents sent. Therefore, they belonged to members of the highest classes of society who would use symbols to represent them. In Ancient Greece, crayfish and lobsters are rather absent from the myths. However, it appears that the Greek word which designates both animals, αστακός, was also the name of at least two cities and that they chose the crayfish as their symbol on coinage. One was named after its legendary founder, Astakos, and the other after the popular animal. It is thus possible to imagine that the owner of that ring was either named Astakos, or that crayfish fishing and commerce were his main source of wealth.

To discover more about Intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Intaglios: Miniature Masterpieces.

Dimensions L 3.2 x W 2.5 cm


Semi-Precious Stone



Southern Europe

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