The last of the Julians

Modern signet ring with Roman intaglio of Nero, 1st/2nd century AD.

In the years 54 to 68 of our era Nero Claudius Caesar was emperor of Rome. The first five years of his reign are considered the "quinquennium Neronis", Nero's happy fifth year. However, it is the later years for which Nero went down in history. He was accused of extravagance, he was blamed for the fire that led to the Great Fire of Rome, and last but not least he was blamed for the disproportionate persecution and cruelty against Christians. Today, these events are discussed in more nuanced terms. But for many centuries Nero was considered the tyrant par excellence among Roman rulers. The portrait of this emperor, who polarized so strongly, is cut here into a carnelian gem. It is his characteristic hairstyle with forward combed curls as well as the absence of a laurel wreath which suggest that this is Nero. Stylistically, the gem is close to works from the first and second centuries AD, so it was probably created during or shortly after the reign of the notorious emperor, the last of the Julii. We were able to acquire the intaglio as part of a larger collection of very well preserved Roman gems and had it set into a classical signet ring by our goldsmith. Rich, unusually high karat gold holds the gem in a simple, timeless design that can be worn by ladies and gentlemen alike. Gems in carnelian were produced in particularly large numbers in the Roman imperial period, especially in Aquileia. cf. on this Erika Zwierlein-Diehl: Antike Gemmen und ihr Nachleben, Berlin/New York 2007, among others p. 136, p. 143, p. 144 et al.

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.