The view ahead

Exceptional carnelian intaglio in a modern rose gold ring, antique or 18th century

In Roman times, intaglios in semi-precious stone were created for a variety of occasions. People had portraits of themselves cut in stone to give to friends and relatives. Scenes from mythology and representations of the gods served as protective amulets. But intaglios were also created as precious gifts by emperors to honour soldiers, civil servants or deserving citizens for loyal service. The present cameo in carnelian could have been such a gift. We see a young face, the gaze focused to the right. The profile seems to be minimally turned from the plane of the stone towards us, giving the depiction a special plasticity. The hair is beautifully rendered and rich in detail. The intaglio comes from a collection of antique cameos, which were set in the same settings of classicism around 1800. This circumstance and the richness of detail speak for a creation in the Roman Imperial period. Cameos in carnelian were produced in particularly large numbers at this time, especially in Aquileia. cf. on this Erika Zwierlein-Diehl: Antike Gemmen und ihr Nachleben, Berlin/New York 2007, et al. p. 136, p. 143, p. 144 et al. At the same time, the type of depiction, slightly turned out of profile and impressively monumental for the small space of the stone, is unusual for an antique cameo; the stone may therefore have been cut only in the 18th century. The time of origin of such small intaglios is sometimes difficult to determine even for the expert; often the specific date must remain vague. Around 1800, after all, this was no longer clear and the stone was included in the aforementioned collection. But one way or another: the depiction possesses a power all of its own, which is immediately touching. The carnelian came to us with its setting, which conceals a flaw at the lower edge. The simple ring band made of high quality gold with the two decorative arches to the right and left of the stone setting was created in our workshop according to models of classicism. The cameo can now be worn again safely and with pleasure.

One of the most beautiful and exciting fields in the field of jewellery is the collecting of antique intaglios and cameos. These portraits, cut in hard stone, recessed or raised, offer such a wealth of motifs that a whole world of objects reveals itself to every interest. There are cameos with portraits of famous people and heroes, representations of deities and mythical events, memories of personal experiences and narrative scenes from everyday life. As cameos were widespread as jewellery in antiquity and every citizen probably wore (and gave as a gift) such stones, a relatively large number of original pieces have been preserved outside museums. We are always particularly pleased to be able to offer such cameos.

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.