BEST Neoclassical Jasper Intaglio of Mars Set in Unisex Victorian 14k Ring, 5.4 Grams, c.1770!

ON HOLD for Meghan - thanks!

Dating to c.1770 for the intaglio and c.1900 for the fine high-karat gold mounting, this ring is a masterpiece of the Neoclassical gem-carver's art! Measuring 3/4" long x 1/2" wide, the bezel of this ring features a masterfully-carved black jasper intaglio of Mars, and is suitable for wear by a lady or as a stellar pinky ring by a gentleman!

When I first examined this ring, I was certain that the intaglio was ancient Roman. However, I have since spent many hours in continual research of published ancient, Renaissance, and Neoclassical intaglios, and I find that it is also very similar to mid-18th century examples. Therefore, I have decided to err on the side of caution and list it as Georgian. This does not rule it out as ancient (indeed, if it is, someone is really going to get a steal here), but I sense that given the skill of the carving, material, and size of the intaglio, it dates to c.1770.

This intaglio is carved from what the ancients called plasma, a stone that was highly prized in the Roman era for glyptic carving. Intaglios of this superb quality enjoyed a revival during the 18th century among wealthy collectors, and were copied by skilled Italian carvers from the original ancient gems. Today, we know this stone as black jasper, a hard stone with a matte black surface which provides a superb contrast against carved images.

Mars is depicted as a nude young man wearing a cape over one shoulder, one hand clutching a spear, and the other holding a plumed helmet. The young god looks down at the helmet as if in contemplation. His body is gracefully depicted, and he bears his weight on his right leg. The ground below him is represented by an underscore, typical of Roman figural intaglios of the 1st century AD.

Black jasper intaglios of any era are rare, and this example has survived over 235 years in museum-quality condition, with very little wear to the edge of the stone - clearly, this gem was prized and cherished over the centuries! The intaglio is set in a substantial Roman-style late-Victorian ring crated in 14k rose gold (mark of "14k," tested).

This ring weighs a substantial 5.4 grams, and is a petite size 4 3/4, but the plainness of the rear of the shank would allow for easy up-sizing by a good lapidary. Suitable for wear by a lady or a gentleman, this is an impressive jewel which will only increase in value and importance over the generations, and it is heirloom-worthy!

Simply a fabulous example of Neoclassical jewelry, this ring will make a prized addition to any collection of early jewelry, and it looks fabulous on the hand! It would also make a stellar gift for anyone fascinated with ancient Roman art and history. Do not miss this rarity; I do not expect to find another like it, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!

Item ID: 2097

Gender: Unisex, Age Group: Adult, Color: black/gold, Size: 4 3/4

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Aesthetic Engineering Fine Jewels and Antiques

Jacquelyn Babush, Decatur, GA   

Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.

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