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, though there are common themes, such as certain gods, which were especially popular.
Venus was the Roman goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility and even prostitution. Affiliated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite, she had perhaps the most unusual origin. One creation myth stated that the goddess was formed from the foam that arose from the drops of blood that fell into the ocean as Caelus was castrated. Venus was married to the Roman god Vulcan, his Greek counterpart being Hephaistos, but she was also associated with the god of war Mars. She was the mother of the Trojan hero Aeneas and thus reputed to be the ancestral mother of the Roman people, thus given the epithet ‘Venus Genetrix’, ‘Venus the Mother’.
To discover more about Intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Intaglios: Miniature Masterpieces.