The fruits of Demeter

Ancient roman carnelian gem of the 2nd/3rd century A.D. in a modern gold ring

The present ring shows an intaglio of carnelian with a finely cut depiction of Demeter. The goddess is depicted standing, holding a cornucopia in one hand and a bundle of ears of grain in the other. Her head is also adorned with a wreath of ears of corn. At her feet we see a plough as a symbol of agriculture. Demeter is considered the goddess of grain, sowing, the fertility of the earth and the seasons. In ancient mythology, she is a sister of Zeus and is actually an affable goddess. However, when Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnaps her daughter Persephone with the help of Zeus, things change. Demeter was so enraged that she forbade the trees to bear fruit and prevented the plants from growing, in order to take revenge on the gods and to let the people on earth die out. Zeus had to give in and asked Hermes to release Persephone. The gods agreed on the following deal: Persephone would be with Hades in the underworld for three months of the year and be allowed to spend the remaining nine months alone with Demeter. Demeter agreed and allowed the earth to become fertile again. According to the legend, the seasons developed from the constantly repeating cycle of Persephone's journey to the underworld and her return to earth three months later. When Persephone is in the underworld, it is cold and wintry on earth. When she returns, it is spring. In summer she walks on earth and in autumn she returns to Hades. The powerful and at the same time somewhat abstracting cut of the intaglio reveals its origin in the late imperial period of the 2nd to 3rd century AD. Cameos in carnelian were produced in large numbers at this time in Aquileia, among other places, and it is possible that our portrait also originates from here. The antique Roman carnelian originally came to us with its setting as part of a bracelet of the years around 1800 from a Cologne collection. 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 based on models from the same period. Thus the gem can now be worn safely and with pleasure as a ring again - and inspire new thoughts.

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.