Ancient Roman Gold Ring with Carnelian Intaglio of Fortuna

£ 2,700.00

An extremely fine Ancient Roman hollow gold finger ring, featuring a D-shaped hoop, with expanding shoulders, and an oval bezel, set with an exquisitely engraved carnelian intaglio.  Depicted on the intaglio is Fortuna, the Roman goddess of chance, elegantly dressed and carved facing right. She is portrayed wearing a mural crown and with two of her attributes: a cornucopia in one arm and a gubernaculum, a rudder, in the other, which the goddess would have steer to control the changeable fortunes of life. The wearer of this beautiful ring could have worn it in hope that the goddess would protect them with good fortune in their daily lives. UK ring size: A. Weight: 6.6 g.

Date: Circa 1st – 3rd Century AD
Provenance: Ex- Swiss Collection, acquired in 1992; in Switzerland according to the 2005 LTBC.
Condition: Extremely fine, suitable for modern wear with care.
Product Code: RES-135
Category: Tag:

From the Roman Republic onwards it became customary for all the senators, chief magistrates, and at last for the equites also, to wear gold rings, known in Latin as annulus aureus, as a way to distinct themselves from the mass of the people. Both men and women would have worn multiple rings on each finger, competing in vanity for the one having the bigger or heavier ring. The extremely sophisticated technique of engraving of gemstones was one of the most luxurious art forms in the Ancient World. Furthermore, in Ancient Roman culture gemstones were amongst the most expensive and lavish objects and were prized above all other possessions. This fine intaglio is carved from carnelian; the name carnelian derives from the Latin word carneus, which means fleshy, a reference to the colour of the semi-precious stone. Iconographies on intaglios were driven from literature, mythology or religion. In this case the intaglio holds the depiction of the goddess Fortuna, portrayed bearing a cornucopia, symbol of abundance, and a rudder, symbol of her control over human destinies. She also appears wearing a mural crown: Fortuna was not only the personification of good fortune and chance, but was also worshipped as the protector of cities, hence the mural-crown she is shown wearing, which symbolises the city the goddess is protecting.

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

Dimensions W 2.3 cm
Roman Mythology




Semi-Precious Stone



Southern Europe

Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, item 1986,0401.154.

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