|Roman Intaglio, 2nd-early 3rd century AD, in an 18th-century setting|
The gold ring has a hoop with D-section which widens towards the shoulders. Set in the oval bowl-shaped bezel is a fine intaglio cut into a flat surface showing a male head in profile to the left wearing a laurel wreath in his curly hair. Under his chin the hide of a lion is tied with the paws. Often, if an intaglio was incomplete or slightly damaged along the edge maybe through the removal from an earlier mount the gaps would be filled with gold. It was a much favored aesthetic solution. The ring is in very good condition. The modern setting dates from the late eighteenth century rings when wearing cameos and intaglios was fashionable.
Engraved in this Roman intaglio is the effigy of Alexander the Great wearing a laurel wreath and portrayed as his role model Heracles. Alexander saw himself as the son of Zeus (Jupiter) or Heracles (Hercules in Roman), who was famously known for his strength and the twelve labors, often depicted in Western art. Here Alexander wears the hide of the Nemean lion, the vicious monster slain by Heracles. The image probably signified bravery and strength to the wearer.
|Location of Origin: Europe|
|Medium/Materials: Gold, red jasper|
|Dimensions: Weight 9.8 gr.; bezel 19.9 x 17.8 x 3.1 mm.; circumference: 54.51 mm.; US size 7; UK size O|
|Primary Classification: Jewelry : Ancient / Islamic / Medieval Jewelry|
|Secondary Classification: Ancient Art : Roman|
|The art of engraving gemstones developed by the Greeks and Romans continued through the centuries and fascinated collectors of stones and rings alike. In the Middle Ages these were treasured, re-used and ancient scenes given a Christian meaning. Later in the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment and with Napoleon and Josephine in the nineteenth century the interest in Classical Antiquity fostered a special interest in intaglios and cameos. Collections were fast growing and such gems became most fashionable in jewelry. |
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