Roman Gold Ring with Garnet Intaglio

£ 3,250.00

A beautiful Roman gold ring featuring a rounded garnet intaglio. The ring features a rounded hoop, which is flat within the interior and rounded to the exterior, leading to expanding shoulders. These lead to a stepped bezel set with a convex garnet intaglio, carved with a decorative motif. At its centre is a nude figure, most likely of a nude goddess, depicted standing with her back to the viewer. Her head is turned to the left, as though surprised. The drapes of her dress hang loosely around her side and fall to her legs. Her left hand is raised, holding an object within her hand, possibly a mirror. Scenes such as this commonly depict Venus, surprised in the act of bathing. The startled moment was depicted in a range of mediums; from miniature intaglios to life-size statues.

Closest UK ring size: N 1/2. Internal diameter given below.

Please note that the impression will not be supplied with the ring.

Date: Circa 1st Century AD
Provenance: Ex Alison Barker collection, retired Barrister-at-law, acquired 1970s-2000s. Ex Cambridge private collection.
Condition: Excellent. Clear intaglio with defined details. Very faint hairline crack to intaglio but still stable.


Product Code: RES-203
Category: Tag:

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.

Weight 4.89 g
Dimensions W 1.8 cm



Southern Europe

Roman Mythology


Semi-Precious Stone


Reference: For similar:The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, item 18.359

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