strength and power

Modern gold ring with roman intaglio: A bull, 1st century B.C.

One of the most beautiful and exciting fields in the field of jewelry is the collecting of antique intaglios and cameos. These effigies, cut in stone, recessed and sometimes raised, offer such a wealth of subjects that a whole world of objects is revealed for every interest. There are ancient cameos with portraits of famous people and heroes, representations of deities and mythical events but also memories of personal experiences and narrative scenes from everyday life. Since gems were widespread as jewellery in antiquity and probably every citizen wore such stones (and also gave them as gifts), a relatively large number of original pieces have survived outside museums. We are always pleased to be able to offer such original Roman gems, especially when the pieces are of museum quality, as is the case with this intaglio: We see a magnificent bull engraved in beautiful three-dimensionality on a rather large pink agate. Always cultically revered, the bull in European mythology stands, among other things, for procreative power and thus as a sign of fertility, but also as a symbol of pure strength and assertiveness. In the ancient Greek legend of Heracles, for example, the hero succeeds in taming an unruly bull. The father of the gods, Zeus, also appeared in the form of a bull in the legend of the abduction of Europe. It is therefore a true power animal around which the ancient world has spun many cults and which can therefore be read in just as many different ways. The depiction and detailing, the form of reproduction and the comparison with other surviving intaglios allow us to date the gem to the 1st century BC, the time of the Roman Republic. Gems were produced in large numbers in Aquileia, among other places, at this time, and our bull may also have come from here. Cf. especially Erika Zwierlein-Diehl: Antike Gemmen und ihr Nachleben, Berlin/New York 2007, p. 136, p. 143, p. 144 et al. The antique Roman agate originally came to us as part of a necklace from around 1800 from a collection in Cologne, where the experts at Kunsthaus Lempertz were able to date the stone to the 1st century BC. The ring band, made of high-carat gold, was created in our workshop according to models of the same period. So the Roman gem can now be worn as a ring again - and inspire new, powerful thoughts.

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.