Roman Gold Ring with Garnet Intaglio of a Horse

£ 3,950.00

A very fine, ancient Roman gold ring, featuring an engraved oval garnet intaglio. The ring is composed of a simple, solid hoop attached to a trapezoid box-bezel; a gold granule decorates each corner of the setting. A deep reddish-purple garnet cabochon sits in the centre of the bezel. The stone is carved with an image of a horse depicted in a dynamic pose with a lowered head.

Closest UK ring size: P 1/2


Date: 1st-2nd century AD
Provenance: Acquired from London galleries during the 1990s. From the jewellery collection of a London, UK, gentleman.
Condition: Excellent. The ring is intact and suitable for modern wear. Some earthly encrustations inside the shank.
Product Code: RES-245
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Intaglio rings were a popular style of jewellery in Ancient Rome and have been uncovered across the full geographic extent of the former Roman Empire. The custom of wearing rings was popular amongst the Romans and was probably introduced by the Sabines, who are described in early legends as wearing gold rings with precious stones. During the Roman Republic it became customary for all the senators, chief magistrates, and at last for the equites also, to wear gold rings. The nature of their individual production meant that designs and details show a wide variety.

During the Roman Empire, horses were extremely important for battle, as well as for most aspects of everyday life, such as transportation, hunting, farming, and chariot racing. The Romans associated the horse with the spoils of war, connecting it symbolically with power, victory, honour, domination, and virility. In Graeco-Roman mythology and culture, the horse was said to have been created by Poseidon (Neptune) and devoted to Hades (Pluto) and Ares (Mars). The Romans also believed the horse to be a symbol of the continuity of life, and would sacrifice a horse to the god Mars every October, keeping its tail through the winter as a sign of fertility and rebirth.


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

Weight 5.67 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 2.4 cm



Southern Europe

Semi-Precious Stone


Reference: For a similar intaglio, The British Museum, item 1814,0704.1993

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