Romulus and Remus

Ancient Roman agate cameo in a modern gold ring, London 2020

The desire to collect and own fine and precious gems unites all times from antiquity to the present. Even the "ancients" (according to Goethe's dictum) collected stone-cut portraits of famous men, representations of the gods and scenes from mythology. All later generations treasured these works: In the Middle Ages, even precious reliquaries in honor of Christian saints were decorated with these small representations of the ancient gods. With the rediscovery of antiquity during the Renaissance, cameos and cameos also received new attention: all at once a veritable collector's market emerged and the always rare antique pieces were barely enough to satisfy demand, much like in the second half of the 18th century when early archaeology began to excavate the first settlements with the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. And the fascination has lasted until today. This ring here holds an original Roman agate carving with a rare depiction of the founding fathers of the city of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The light grey stone depicts the pair of brothers as we know them from the Capitoline Museum in Rome: As infants, facing each other, arms raised as if reaching for the teats of the she-wolf nurturing them. The two brothers stand out plastically in the gem in a lighter agate layer from a darker layer, a continuous base zone connects the two figures. The elegant, antiquing setting of warmly gleaming yellow gold has been forged in the style of antiquity by a London goldsmith to the antique stone.

To possess antique cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections for centuries: We find spectacular pieces as well in the Green Vault in Dresden, in the treasury of Rudolf II, up to the great private collections like that of Baron Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of antique seal stones and gems, which represent the antique imagery of glyptic almost in its entirety. Thus they were not least an expression of a humanistic education. Of particular importance for the transmission of stone and shell carvings north of the Alps have always been travellers to Italy, who brought home impressions and carved stones as well as engraved shells from their educational journeys in order to enjoy the stories that the shells could tell. The art of gem cutting has survived to this day in Italy, especially in the Bay of Naples, where it has been passed down from generation to generation. Today, the Scuola dei Cammei in Torre del Greco is the only professional training centre in the world for gem-cutters, although unfortunately the mythological theme has almost been lost as a subject.

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.