The peacocks of Juno

Contemporary signet ring with ancient Roman intaglio of the peacock chariot 2nd c. AD

One of the most beautiful and exciting fields in the field of jewelry is the collecting of ancient intaglios and cameos. These effigies cut in hard stone offer such a wealth of motifs that a whole world of objects reveals itself to every interest. There are ancient cameos with portraits of famous people and heroes, representations of deities and mythical events, memories of personal experiences and telling scenes from everyday life. Since gems were widespread as jewellery in antiquity and probably every citizen wore (and often gave as gifts) such stones, a relatively large number of original pieces have been preserved outside museums. We are always pleased to be able to offer Roman gems, especially when the pieces are of museum quality, as is the case with this intaglio. Cut in red carnelian, we see a chariot pulled by a large bird, on top of which is a figure blowing a fanfare. This representation is a chariot from the triumphal procession of the goddess Juno - recognizable by the attribute of the peacock, for this noble animal is meant here. In the Greek world of the gods, the peacock was the attribute and companion of Hera, wife of Zeus; the Romans transferred this attribution to Juno, wife of Jupiter. In mythology, Juno was eventually given a chariot drawn by peacocks - this "peacock chariot" is found in numerous ancient and post-ancient depictions. Juno is also frequently accompanied by a peacock on Roman coins. The detail of the engraving found here, the form of the rendering allow us to date this cameo to the 2nd century AD. Cameos in carnelian were produced in large numbers at this time in Aquileia, among other places, and our stone may also have come from here. The intaglio comes from an extensive collection of antique cameos which we were able to buy in Cologne. The stone was set into a bracelet from the years around 1800. However, since the gem was originally a Roman ring stone, we recut the stone to make it wearable as a ring again. So our goldsmith made a solid band ring of high karat gold for the antique gem. The ring with the ancient gem can be worn by ladies and gentlemen alike, we are happy to adjust the ring width accordingly.

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.