The extremely sophisticated technique of engraving 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. Gemstones were often decorated with iconographies driven from literature, myths, theatre and everyday life. In this specific case, the intaglio represents an allegorical auspicious depiction, featuring popular positive symbols in Roman culture, such as the cornucopia, the palm-branch and the cockerel. Allegorical depictions of this type were common in Ancient Rome. Romans would have worn such gemstones as amulets, with apotropaic meanings.
To discover more about Intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Intaglios: Miniature Masterpieces.