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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Seal Pendants : Roman Intaglio Depicting the Bust of Antinous
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Roman Intaglio Depicting the Bust of Antinous - FJ.6678
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD

Style: Pin & Pendant
Medium: Carnelian-Gold

Location: United States
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This Ancient Seal Has Been Set in a Modern 18 Karat Gold Pendant

The art of glyptics, or carving images on colored precious stones, is probably one of the oldest known to humanity. Intaglios, gems with an incised design, were made as early as the fourth and third millennia B.C. in Mesopotamia and the Aegean Islands. They exhibit a virtuosity of execution that suggests an old and stable tradition rooted in the earliest centuries. The tools required for carving gems were simple: a wheel with a belt-drive and a set of drills. Abrasives were necessary since the minerals used were too hard for a metal edge. A special difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature size, was that the master had to work with a mirror-image in mind.

Although this bust might be a portrait of the Emperor Hadrian, it is more likely that of his famed lover Antinous. Antinous was a youth celebrated for his statuesque looks who caught Hadrian’s fancy. So beloved by the Emperor was this youth that, upon his untimely death, he was deified. His portrait was immortalize in many life size representations and smaller memorials such as this pendant. This intaglio demonstrates the absolute mastery of the Roman glyptic craftsmen. The level of detail and clarity is stunning considering the limited proportions of the polished surface of the gemstone and the difficulty carving such dense, hard material. Today set in a marvelous 18 Karat gold pendant, this gorgeous piece of jewelry invokes the glories of Ancient Rome. Wearing this ring reveals a love for the past and for the timeless beauty of the Classics.
- (FJ.6678)


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