Description - Dating to ca. 100 BCE, this early Roman intaglio ring comes from a private collection.
This wonderful piece of history from Roman Times we have here a hand crafted Roman Ring by a Roman jeweller from approx. 100 BCE. The ring type is referred to as the "Henig H," so-called by Dr. Martin Henig, the first antiquarian to catalogue ring types according to their style and chronology. For more information on Henig classifications, see "Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day," Boardman and Scarisbruck, eds., 1978.
This ring is the classic type for this date, and is crafted of solid, sterling-grade silver although it is unmarked but had been tested for silver. The bezel of the ring is set with a small agate intaglio engraved with a cornucopia, a Roman symbol of good luck and bounty. This ring is notable for its heft; it measures 0.75 inches wide at the bezel, tapering to 0.25 inches wide at the rear of the shank, and 0.25 inches thick. It weighs in at 19.4 grams.
This is a rare jewel in sound, wearable condition - it is free of cracks, repairs or losses after over two millennia.
Suitable for wear by a lady or a gentleman, this ring is large in girth but small in diameter; it is a size 4, and was probably worn as a pinky ring by a lady or gentleman of noble Roman birth sumptuary laws dictated that only high-ranking citizens be allowed to wear jewelry crafted from precious metals. Romans also wore rings on the knuckles of their fingers, so this could also explain the small size. 2100 years after its creation, it still makes and impressive pinky ring today, or looks equally wonderful worn on a silver chain around the neck.
This ring has been cleaned of its burial encrustation, but traces of the burial patina have been left on the inside of the shank for dating purposes. This ring CANNOT be re-sized. It has been professional restored from its burial condition, and it passed all lab tests for authenticity; please see the copy of the COA.
If you love the rich and colorful history of ancient Rome, this museum-quality silver intaglio ring is a joy to have. It would also make a stellar gift for any lady or gentleman interested in Roman jewelry. If you want to know more on buying from reputable dealers please contact us and we will find you the perfect Roman piece of history. This ring may of been worn by a Gladiator who knows!
Roman rings, the popularity and of wearing the ring and how it became common place,
the lituus, the Roman stamp rings, and the rings found on skeletons
Article by JJ Kent
The Romans distinguished their rings by names taken from their use, as we do. The excessive luxury shown in the number worn, and the value of gems and costly engraved stones in them, and the custom of wearing lighter rings in summer and heavier in winter, are among the most absurd instances of Roman effeminacy, (as we shall hereafter more particularly show.) The case in which they kept their rings was called Dactylotheca. No ornament was more generally worn among the Romans than rings. This custom appears to have been borrowed from the Sabines. They laid them aside at night, as well as when they bathed or were in mourning, as did suppliants. However, in times of sorrow, they rather changed than entirely put them aside; they then used iron ones, taking off the gold rings. It was a proof of the greatest poverty, when any one was obliged to pledge his ring to live. Rings were given by those who agreed to club for an entertainment. They were usually pulled off from the fingers of dying persons; but they seem to have been sometimes put on again before the dead body was buried.
There is no sign of the ring upon Roman statues before those of Numa and Servius Tullius. The rings were worn to be taken off or put on according to festivals, upon the statues of deities and heroes, and upon some of the emperors, with the Lituus ensculped, to show that they were sovereign pontiffs.
This lituus is a crooked staff; and the Roman priests are represented with it in their hands. They, as augurs, used it in squaring the heavens when observing the flight of birds. It is traced to the time of Romulus, who being skilled in divination, bore the lituus; and it was called lituus quirinalis, from Quirinus, a name of Romulus. It was kept in the Capitol, but lost when Rome was taken by the Gauls; afterwards, when the barbarians had quitted it, the lituus was found buried deep in ashes, untouched by the fire, whilst every thing about it was destroyed and consumed. Emperors appropriated to themselves the dignities of the office of high priest, and hence this priestly symbol upon their medals, coins and signets. Although it is a common notion that the pastoral staff of the Church of Rome is taken from the shepherd's crook, it may be a question whether it did not take its rise from the lituus?
Brave times those Roman times for lawyers--or patrons, as they were called. Their clients were bound to give them the title of Rex; escort them to the Forum and the Campus Martius; and not only to make ordinary presents to them and their children or household, but, on a birth-day, they received from them birthday ring. It was worn only on that day.
There were rings worn by flute-players, very brilliant and adorned with a gem.
In the Sierra Elvira, in Spain, more than two hundred tombs and an aqueduct were discovered. Several skeletons bore the rings of Roman knights; and some of them had in their mouths the piece of money destined to pay the ferryman Charon. These skeletons crumbled into dust as soon as they were touched. What a perfect subject for a poem by Longfellow!
Roman stamps or large seals or brands have been found of quaint shapes. Some of them are in the form of feet or shoes. Drawings of them appear in Montfaucon. They were fashioned to mark casks and other bulky articles. Caylus gives an illustration of a ring in the form of a pair of shoes, or rather, the soles of shoes (see image).
Pliny observes that rings became so common at Rome, they were given to all the divinities; and even to those of the people who had never worn any. Their divinities were adorned with iron rings--movable rings, which could be taken off or put on according to festivals and circumstances.
Copyright 2004 by JJ Kent, Inc Source http://www.jjkent.com/articles/roman-ring-stamps.htm. Many thanks for this fantastic article. Lorraine