Skip to product information
1 of 10

Brenda Ginsberg Antiques & Jewelry

Antique Unisex Signet Ring 18k Gold Hardstone Intaglio Cameo Lady (6653)

Antique Unisex Signet Ring 18k Gold Hardstone Intaglio Cameo Lady (6653)

Regular price $2,999.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $2,999.00 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
Antique signet ring. 18k yellow gold, chalcedony intaglio carved cameo. The intaglio is significantly older than the mount, which is of undetermined age. Unisex - suitable for either a man or a woman.

Measurements: US size 6.5 (can be resized). Weight is 8.7 grams.

Description : Very strong, solid gold mount, possibly of more recent construction. Typical form of an oval signet ring as worn by either a man or a woman. Set with a much older pale chalcedony hardstone, carved in the classical manner to depict a woman in profile. Classic Greek features with hair pulled back in a loose bun, locks curling down her neck. Goes from nearly invisible in the shade, to great beauty as the light catches the woman and almost brings her to life. Inside shank shows signs of hand hammering.

Marks: No marks. Gold was acid tested to ensure metal purity.

Condition: Good with negligible wear commensurate with age. Please see enlarged pictures and don't hesitate to ask questions which we will do our best to answer.

Note: In order to show details, some of the pictures show chalcedony darker than reality. Also, please note that the red showing in some of the pictures is a trick of the camera and does not exist in reality.

The Story: Signet rings were the means of identifying an individual during centuries when the majority of people could not read or write. The intaglio was impressed in wax, revealing the cypher of the owner. The Ancient Greeks and Romans began the fashion for portraying individuals via intaglio carved cameos. The fantastic artists of the Renaissance period picked up on this trend, often using old cameos and re-setting them in later mounts. This continued through to the 20th century.
This is a great example of a reset cameo. It is reminiscent of a similar intaglio profile, found in the book Rings Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty, by Diana Scarisbrick, who has access to the most famous jewelry collections in the world. In this case, the mount is a lot later and simpler, but interesting for the apparent hand work on the inside of the hoop, which I've tried to show in the 'photos.

Intaglios are a great example of jewelry that serves both a functional and aesthetic function.
Intaglios were most often worn by men, but certainly not exclusively so and today, are a welcome form of unisex jewelry.

Who was the woman shown? She must have been very important to have her likeness carved in such fine detail. Who were the people who owned and wore this ring? Who are those who will continue to enjoy it in generations to come?


View full details