Roman finger-ring by Unknown Artist

This ring is a particularly attractive piece of jewellery decorated in the opus interrasile technique.

Details

Medium:
Gold
Dimensions:
2 cm
Art Fund grant:
£3,000 ( Total: £12,000)
Acquired in:
1991
Vendor:
Sotheby's

The wide band has fifteen fluted facets externally but is smooth internally. The centre of each panel is filled with an openwork letter, the full legend reading AEMILIA ZESES -a Greek motto expressed in Latin characters and meaning 'Aemilia, may you live'. The upper and lower borders are both decorated with openwork leaf shapes arranged in pairs. Although the openwork motto finger ring as a type was widespread in the Roman period, examples are extremely rare. It is possible that the Aemilia ring was a love token or a betrothal ring as it is one of the few which refers specifically to a woman's name.

Provenance

Corbridge; by descent through the Dukes of Northumberland. Trustees of the 10th Duke of Northumberland's.

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