Dating to ca. 1870-1880, this fine Victorian ring boasts a wonderful hardstone cameo of the Roman Empress Faustina!
Faustina was the wife of Constantius II, and reigned as Empress in her own right in 341 AD. This cameo is true to the style of genuine ancient Roman cameos; it depicts Faustina much as she appears on Roman coins of the 4th century - as a middle-aged matron with highly-dressed hair held back in a fillet, and a very Roman profile. (Faustina was known to the Romans for her sizable nose!) Usually, Victorian cameos are very "romanticized," but this cameo is instantly recognizable!
This cameo is carved from sardonyx, and measures 1/2" x 3/8". It is mounted in its original 9k rose-gold mounting, with graceful scrolls and arrows decorating the shoulders (gold unmarked but tested). This ring is a size 5 1/2, but the plainness of the rear of the shank would allow for re-sizing by a good lapidary. The inside of the shank bears the traces of an inscription, indicating that this ring was originally given as a gift to a special Victorian lady, but time has smoothed most of it away. This ring weighs 2 grams, and is very comfortable on the finger!
The cameo is in near-pristine condition; the only sign of wear is a pin-prick sized "dimple" to the bottom of Faustina's neck. This may have occurred during the carving, as it does not look like damage to me. It is not "rough," and is not noticeable on the hand; I only mention it for complete accuracy. Otherwise, this ring is as fresh as when it adorned the hand of a lady of fashion over 130+ years ago!
If you love the finest in Victorian cameo rings, this example will make a wonderful and highly-wearable addition to your collection! It would also make a special gift to the Empress in your own life! Either way, do not miss this superbly-carved cameo of one of the First Ladies of Rome!
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