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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Roman Seal Rings : Roman Carnelian Intaglio Mounted in an 18 Karat Gold Ring with a Florentine Finish
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Roman Carnelian Intaglio Mounted in an 18 Karat Gold Ring with a Florentine Finish - FJ.5111
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 400 AD

Collection: Intaglio Jewelry
Medium: Carnelian and Gold

Location: United States
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The art of glyptics, or carving on colored precious stones, is probably one of the oldest known to humanity. Intaglios, gems with an incised design, were made as early as the fourth and third millennia B.C. in Mesopotamia and the Aegean Islands. The exhibit a virtuosity of execution that suggests an old and stable tradition rooted in the earliest centuries. The tools required for carving gems were simple: a wheel with a belt-drive and a set of drills. Abrasives were necessary since the minerals used were too hard for a metal edge. A special difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature size, was that the master had to work with a mirror-image in mind.

Engraved onto the polished surface of this precious stone is an image of the bust of a young man. His curly locks of hair flow over his head. Who is this mysterious youth? May it be a god, or could it be a mere mortal? It is possible that this bust might be a depiction of Antinuous, the tragic lover of Emperor Hadrian? Surely the idealized beauty of this figure would be fitting the legendary looks of Antinuous, looks that captured the heart of the most powerful man in the world. During his lifetime and afterwards, Hadrian commissioned numerous portraits of Antinuous. This gorgeous bust would surely be in keeping with this tradition. Is it possible that Hadrian himself may have once owned this seal as a reminder of his lost love? - (FJ.5111)


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