Fabulous creature

Antique roman gem with gryllos head in a gold ring from our workshop

The stone carving presented here from the 1st or 2nd century AD amazes and excites the collector or lover of antique gems. It is a rare representation of the "Gryllos", a many-headed legendary figure of Greek mythology, reported by Plutarch. With every third turn of the ring, a different face becomes visible in the engraving. We see two bearded faces, reminiscent of theatrical masks but which could also be philisopher's heads, and one beardless face with beautiful individuality. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York also has a ring with a Gryllos head, see -> here . For lovers of cut stones with mythological motifs, this ring offers a nice opportunity to add a particularly quality piece to one's collection. The richness of detail of the cut and the materiality speaks for an origin of the gem in the Roman Imperial period. Gems in carnelian were produced in particularly large numbers in Aquileia at this time. cf. Erika Zwierlein-Diehl: Antike Gemmen und ihr Nachleben, Berlin/New York 2007, p. 136, p. 143, p. 144 et al. The intaglio comes from an extensive collection of antique gems, which were set into a bracelet from the years around 1800 when we acquired them in Cologne. Since the gemstones were originally Roman ring stones, we recut them to make them wearable as rings again. So our blacksmith built a massive band ring for the ancient Gryllos gem, using high karat gold as a goldsmith of Roman antiquity would have done. The ring can be worn by ladies and gentlemen alike.

For centuries, the possession of cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections of decorative arts and chambers of curiosities, from the Green Vault in Dresden and the treasury of Rudolf II to large private collections such as that of Baron von Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of antique seal stones and gems, which were able to represent the antique imagery of glyptic almost in its entirety, as they were also an expression of a humanistic education. However, the art of gem-cutting has survived to this day in Italy, especially in the Bay of Naples, where it has been handed down from generation to generation. Today the Scuola dei Cammei in Torre del Greco is the only large-scale training centre for gem-cutters in Italy. Of particular importance for the transmission of stone and shell carving north of the Alps have always been travellers to Italy, who brought home impressions and cut stones as well as engraved shells from their educational journeys to enjoy.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.