Companion and protector

Antique Roman Carnelian Intaglio in a Modern Gold Ring

In Roman times, intaglios were carved in stone for various occasions. People had portraits of themselves cut to give to friends and relatives. Intaglia were created as precious gifts by emperors to honour soldiers, civil servants or deserving citizens for loyal service. And scenes from mythology and representations of the gods served as protective amulets. The carnelian gem in question here may also have been created in the hope of protection and good fortune. We see a profile portrait to the left, a young man with large curls. This may be an individual portrait, or a youthful god such as Mars or Mercury. In any case, a youthful companion and protector. The intaglio comes from a collection of antique gems, which were set in identical settings during the Classicist period around 1800. Its cut suggests that it was created 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 etc. We do not know where the seal stone, for it was originally created as such, spent the following 1600 years. Presumably it slumbered undisturbed in the ground until it was rediscovered around 1800. The carnelian came to us with its setting. 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. So the gem 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 gems 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 gems.

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.