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Eighteenth Century Classical Intaglio Ring - Presumed Pichler

Item 6145

The 18th century found a renewed interest in all things classical. It became a time of master artists who carved cameos (positive images) and intaglios (negative images carved into the material) with superb finesse. When one is fortunate to find an intaglio from this period, it simply stands out. Carvers used classical ancient Roman and sometimes Greek examples and reinterpreted them in their own stylistic way. Overall they tend to be deep carvings, with classical figures – often profiles of gods, goddesses or other important figures. Exquisite is a term that lends itself to their delicate hand and intricate detail, modeled to an ideal perfection.

A series of famous master carvers arose during this century. One of those carvers, or family of carvers was Anton Pichler and his sons, Luigi, Giacomo, Giovanni and Guiseppe. Italian by birth, Anton lived from 1697 to 1779. Many of their stones are signed with Pichler in the Greek alphabet but just as many are not. We present this superb antique ring that is indeed presumed to be by one of the Pichlers. While we cannot say for certain which of the family members carved this, they often worked in this lush honey colored stone. There rarely exists those who can match their sheer breathtaking artistry that worked in this same stone. Also, the carving is so exceptional we certainly know it is done by an artist at the top of his field. Extremely scarce, this ring has been reviewed by the vetting committee of Olympia in London in 2004 – a group of experts – so we have a consensus on authenticity.

Here we have the pleasure of presenting a later 18th century intaglio carved into honey colored sardonyx, a type of hardstone. Sometimes referred to as golden sard, the figure is a Roman man with the hair arranged falling long, with a laurel wreath diadem and curls in the front in Neoclassical style. This would typically be found prior to the 5th century AD. The modeling is exceptional, with superior carving from a master carver in every detail from the locks of hair, cheekbones, anatomy and classical nose.

The stone is set within a rose gold late 18th century ring. It is a man’s ring, but truly looks appropriate on a woman with longer or larger scaled proportions to their hands. This is one of the most common forms of rings of the time – a very simple flat plane holds the gem with the stone being held tight and secure with a slight dip around the edge. This then swoops upward to a flat ring or final edge. The reverse is a concave smooth plane of gold. The shank completely smooth and plain but generous in thickness, meeting the central panel and being joined in a flat line. We know this stone has never been removed or replaced as the joint between the stone and gold work is untouched and so tight even water cannot penetrate. Also the patina of the stone and ring are exactly what one desires when looking for old intaglios. Without we know they are most likely forgeries. The stone and mount is 1/8 inch deep at the center (.3 cm) and 3/16 inches at the edges (.5 cm).

Measures 13/16 inches high by 11/16 inches wide ( 2 cm by 1.8 cm) for the stone and bezel. The stone itself is 11/16 by 9/6 inches wide (1.8 cm by 1.5 cm). In excellent condition with surface wear to stone as expected. Currently a size 9 ¾ (UK S ½) but our expert jeweler could size this for you without harming the value. Circa 1780.