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Ancient Hero: Cameo Ring of Hercules

Item 11868

The Italian tradition of sculpting and carving developed into the art of cameo carving which is a two-dimensional sculpture (and the opposite of an intaglio) of a portrait or scene carved in relief with a background of contrasting color.

The image most often depicts an individual from classical antiquity, a Roman or Greek deity or an allegory. This example is of agate hardstone; although much more difficult to carve, it is much preferred over the more common shell or lava cameo.

Set within a 15k yellow gold surround ornamented with a typical late 18th or very early 19th century English tight knit floral border is an agate hardstone cameo carving of the Roman god Hercules (Heracles). Done in classical profile, the carver has finely demonstrated his skills in depicting a face with a strong Roman nose and sensuous lips, his head framed with a thatch of gentle curls and covered by the skin of the slain Nemean lion. Although the gold shank and under gallery are later in date and more modern, the design style is appropriate for the cameo.

Measurements: 1-3/16 inches (3.1 cm) in length by 15/16 of an inch (2.6 cm) in width. Cameo is 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length by 5/8 of an inch (1.7 cm) in width. This cameo has a weight of 12.4 grams (8.0 dwt).

Ring Size: US 8-3/4 (UK R; Euro 18.75, 59.5 mm) and can be sized up or down to suit any hand.
Ring sizing information.

Condition: Excellent for the cameo and surround

Date & Origin: Cameo and surround are circa very early 19th century; shank is modern. Cameo is most likely Italian in origin.

Overall Scale: Large