A Medieval Gold Ring with an Emerald Stone, Early Medieval Period, ca. 1400 CE
UJ2104Regular price $6,500 USD
During medieval times, stones set into rings often had special significance or were worn for their properties of protection. Hildegard Von Bingen (1098 – 17 September 1179) wrote in the 12th century on the powers and benefits of gemstones with emerald being the embodiment of her concept of viriditas, a word she coined by combining two Latin words green and truth. She believed viriditas embodied God’s power to renew and refresh through nature—the greening of the human spirit. Emeralds were recommended healing for "could repair damaged cellular structures and support wound healing on the molecular level such as with chronic leg ulcers or other slow healing wounds" heart and stomach ailments, epilepsy, headaches, and congestion.
Dimensions: US ring size 8 1/2 (UK=Q 3/4, DE=18 1/2, CH=17 3/4
Provenance: Private British collection formed in the 1990s.
A Roman Eye Agate Intaglio Ring, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 3rd century CE
RJ2123Regular price $6,500 USD
This fine signet ring features a solid hoop of high carat gold, with a D-shaped hoop, broad sloping shoulders and a round, high bezel. The bezel is set with an outstanding cone-shaped eye agate displaying three strata layers of color within the gem – semi transparent red at the bottom, white in the middle, and the frequently used red at the top and the tiny top surface is skillfully engraved. Eye agates were highly prized in Roman society for it was believed they held magical properties. It was thought eye agates would assist in finding hidden treasures, increase happiness, build confidence and bring victory.
For a related example see: Marshall, FH; Catalogue of the Finger Rings Greek, Etruscan & Roman in the Department of Antiquities, British Museum (London, 1907) pl.12, no. 525.
Background: The Signet, or Seal Ring, was significant in Roman society, as it was used in validating serious legal documents by its owner. Intaglios, and engraved or intaglio-cut gems could serve as seals, even while appearing decorative. Cicero mentions them, and Pliny cites that the fashion of wearing signet rings eventually shifted to the little finger although statues show that Roman men often wore rings on the fourth finger of their left hand, which, in time, came to be known as the 'goldfinger'. A signet ring was highly representative of the individual who wore it. It was, in effect, their signature.
During the first two centuries AD, rings operate within a complex nexus of ideas of power, image, status and gender. According to Pliny, the first-ever ring (anulus) and jewel (gemma) were forged from a fragment of the Caucasus into an iron bezel and worn by Prometheus (37.2), the Titan god of forethought and creator or mankind. Pliny explains the chronology of Roman ring-wearing began in the Republic, with the earliest made of iron, the gold ring being specially reserved for certain classes of persons or for certain special occasions. Thus envoys sent on missions of state wore gold rings when engaged on that particular service, but resumed their iron rings upon their return home. From the time of Augustus, gold rings were used to signify public status and recognition, especially for the equites, who became a third-order between the Senate and the Plebs (33.29).
Bibliography: Hawley, R. (2007). Lords of the Rings: ring-wearing, status and identity in the page of Pliny the Elder. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. Supplement, (100), 103-111.
A. N. Sherwin-White (ed.), The Letters of Pliny (Oxford 1966)
Condition: Some very minor around the bezel shoulder that does not detract, otherwise intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: US ring size 6 3/4 (UK=N 1/2, DE=17, CH=14)
Provenance: Private British collection assembled prior to 2000, thereafter with the London trade.
A Roman Gold Ring with Garnet Intaglio, Roman Imperial Period
RJ2122Regular price $5,000 USD
The dark garnet intaglio engraved with a figure, most probably Mercury, holding a caduceus and wearing a tapered helmet, set in a heavy ring of 22K+ gold, the wide round bezel and shank creating a very attractive backdrop for the curved intaglio.
Spier, Jeffrey 'Ancient Gems and Finger Rings', J. Paul Getty Museum, 200 pages (1993), p. 126, no. 335
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: US ring size 3
Provenance: Madame Frances Artuner Collection, Belgium, formed during the 1960s thence by descent to her daughter in the US
A Large Roman Glass Crumb Bead, Late Roman Imperial Period, ca. 3rd - 5th century CE
RJ2112Regular price $550 USD
Black glass barrel-shaped bead, with small - medium sized crumbs in red, yellow, white, and blue.
For a related example see: Spaer, M., Barag, D., Ornan, T., & Neuhaus, T. (2001). Ancient glass in the Israel Museum: Beads and other small objects. Jerusalem: Israel Museum, p. 129 #226-228
Condition: Losses to the surface, particularly to one side, otherwise intact and in good condition overall.
Dimensions: Width: 3/4 inch (2 cm)
Provenance: Private collection of an English lady, by descent.
A Roman Intaglio Seal, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd - 3rd century CE
RA1803Regular price $400 USD
Carnelian seal with bust of a god in left profile, possibly Pan
Condition: Intact and in very condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 0.9 cm (0.35 inches)
Provenance: Ex. R.T. private collection, Munich, acquired 1958
A Greco/Roman Gold Pendant, Hellenistic Period, ca. 3rd - 1st century BCE
GJ2107Regular price $2,250 USD
High karat gold bullae such as this example would have been affordable only to members of the elite. Less expensive bullae were made of other materials, such as bronze and leather. Freeborn Roman male children wore bullae until they reached adulthood. In ancient Rome, a boy would receive a bulla eight days after his birth on the same day that he was given his name. This important festival marked the child’s acceptance into the family. It is possible that Roman boys wore their bullae only when they were outside their homes, at occasions when they would have been in contact with people beyond their kin group.
In addition to their bullae, Roman boys also wore the toga praetexta – a garment decorated with a broad purple stripe that was also worn by Roman magistrates. Together, the bulla and the toga praetexta visually declared a child’s status as a free Roman citizen. Cut from a single piece of sheet gold, the pendant has been folded at the suspension loop and the two convex discs pressed together. It has been strung on a modern solid gold chain.
Dimensions: Pendant length: 13 mm (0.5 inch). Strung on an adjustable 21-inch solid gold chain.
Condition: The pendant is intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Ex. collection: Mr and Mrs Broukal, UK; acquired before 1956, then by descent.
Byzantine Gold, Garnet, Emerald, and Pearl Earrings, ca. 1100 - 1300 CE
RJ2119Regular price $15,000 USD
Jewelry and other luxury items worn and used by members of Byzantine society encoded complex messages about the wearer’s social status, wealth, piety, and political and religious connections. Gold, silver, pearls, and precious gemstones were not only considered beautiful but also signaled a wearer’s understanding of esoteric decorative motifs, as well as access to valuable materials and the elite artists that crafted them. It was believed such jewelry provided contact with the numinous powers of the holy world of the saints, while simultaneously serving as public expressions of faithful piety as well as protecting their wearers against spiritual and physical evils.Condition: Set with modern 18K gold posts for wearing, these earrings are intact and in very good condition overall. Just fabulous!
Dimensions: Length: 3 inches (7.5 cm)
Provenance: ex. professional ancient art and jewelry expert, previously with a London gallery; initially from a private British collection formed in the 1980s.
A Costa Rican Jade Pendant Mask, ca. 300 - 500 CE, restrung on ruby necklace
PJ2157Regular price $1,950 USD
Jade was especially appreciated by Mesoamerican and Lower Central American people because of its green color. This stone was associated with water, and vegetation, especially young, maturing corn. For this reason, it was also related to life and death. Olmec, Maya, Aztec, and Costa Rican elites particularly appreciated jade carvings and artifacts and commissioned elegant pieces from skillful artisans. Jade was traded and exchanged among elite members as a luxury item all over the pre-Hispanic American world and is often found in elite burial contexts, as personal adornments. It was replaced by gold very late in time in Mesoamerica, and around 500 AD in Costa Rica and Lower Central America.
Condition: Incomplete, with loss to the top right and chin area, that surprisingly does not detract, otherwise intact and well carved. A truly attractive and appealing necklace.
Dimensions: Height: 1 1/2 Inches (3.5 cm)
Provenance: Pendant: Mirtha Virginia de Perea (1929 - 2019) private collection of Costa Rican art. Mrs. de Perea spent her entire 48-year career with the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, DC, achieving the rank of Cultural Minister-Counselor and Consul after having started as a secretary. She was a devoted patron of the arts, promoting numerous local artists and sponsoring many cultural events throughout her career. She also amassed an impressive collection of Latin American art. After retiring in 1999, she became a US citizen and continued her support of the arts through her membership in the Women’s Committee of the Washington National Opera and other local groups.
A Sinu Tumbaga Double-Tailed Lizard Pendant, Colombia, ca. 500 - 1000 CE
PJ2109Regular price $550 USD
in the form of double curly-tailed lizards in a recumbent pose with their triangular heads facing forward, bulging eyes on either side, front claws extended into suspension loops, and thick tails curled back towards the heads.
The curly-tailed animal pendant represents a type found from eastern Panama to the coastal regions of the Zenú and Tairona cultures of northern Colombia.
Dimensions: Length: 1 inch (2.5 cm), Width: 7/8 inch (2.2 cm)
Condition: Loss to one suspension loop, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired 1950s-1980s, collection # “FM 687 & 691”.
An Egyptian Gold Applique of Horus, Ptolemaic Period, ca. 332 - 30 BCE
EJ2119Regular price $3,500 USD
Period: Ptolemaic Period
Object Date: ca. 332-30 BCE
Dimensions: Height: 6 cm (2.3 inches)
One of the most important gods of ancient Egypt, the worship of the ancient falcon-form sky god Horus spanned over 5,000 years. Perforated at five points for attachment to a mummy shroud, this plaque is hand-made from hammered sheet gold foil and portrays the god in left profile in wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Horus was not only a god of the sky, whose right eye was the sun and the left the moon, but the embodiment of divine kingship and protector of the reigning pharaoh. Through the assimilation with other major gods (Sun god; son of Isis and Osiris), Horus appears in many forms with extensive mythology. One of the major aspects of Horus’ cult is his link with the kingship of Egypt; his name was incorporated into the pharaonic titulary (“Living Horus on Earth”). For this reason, Horus was represented wearing the tall Double crown symbolizing his kingship over all Egypt.
Condition: Light crushing and denting throughout, but intact.
Provenance: Private New Jersey collection, acquired from the New York trade in 1998.
A rare Jade Female Celt Pendant, Cosa Rica, Early Classic Period, ca. 5th - 12th century CE
PJ2122Regular price $2,950 USD
These features, together with the posture suggest a shaman or healer in the middle of a ritual performance or magical transformation, especially given that both women and men could be healers in ancient Costa Rican society. a pale blue figural celt with incised hands, knobbed cheeks, drilled eyes, and incised headband Drilled through the neck for suspension, this pendant was likely worn as the centerpiece of a necklace with additional beads of jade, greenstone, bone and/or wood.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall with no chips, cracks or breaks. A very fine example.
Dimensions: Height: 6 inches (15.24 cm)
Provenance: Mirtha Virginia de Perea (1929 - 2019) private collection of Costa Rican art. Original collection sticker (4) on back. Mrs. de Perea spent her entire 48-year career with the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington, DC, achieving the rank of Cultural Minister-Counselor and Consul after having started as a secretary. She was a devoted patron of the arts, promoting numerous local artists and sponsoring many cultural events throughout her career. She also amassed an impressive collection of Latin American art. After retiring in 1999, she became a US citizen and continued her support of the arts through her membership in the Women’s Committee of the Washington National Opera and other local groups.
An Islamic Gold and Turquoise Pendant, ca. 14th - 15th century CE
MJ2114Regular price $1,200 USD
This high-quality gold pendant is set with a central cabochon turquoise and strung as a necklace using modern turquoise beads sourced from Arizona.
Dimensions: Necklace length: 18 1/2 inches (47 cm), Pendant length: 1 1/4 inches (3.17 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall. A very pretty necklace.
Provenance: Ex. Sumer Gallery, (Henry Anavian) NYC., acquired 1970s-1980s, by descent to family.
A Published Roman Millefiori Glass Bead, Roman Imperial Period, 1st Century BCE/CE
RJ2158Regular price $1,750 USD
Background: Translated to "A thousand flowers" in Italian, millefiori refers to most common floral design patterns. Millefiori beads (a mosaic glass), were made in ancient times and had numerous sections of patterned canes placed in close proximity parallel to one another and heated to fuse together. The pad of millefiori glass was then rolled upon itself and shaped to form a bead. When Italians reinvented millefiori glass, they usually applied cane pieces to a separate base, often the bead's core, and fused the parts together; this is one way ancient beads may be distinguished.
Published: I. Grimm-Stadelmann (ed.), Aesthetic Glimpses, Masterpieces of Ancient Egyptian Art, The Resandro Collection, Munich, 2012, p. 239, no. R-789 (part).
Condition: Complete, professionally rejoined from two pieces, in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 7/8 inch (2.22 cm)
Provenance: Christie's, London, 12/5/2017, sale 14231, lot # 110 (part), ex. The Alfred Wolkenberg Collection of Ancient Glass, Christie's, London, 9 July 1991, lot 130, ex. Resandro collection, acquired from the above sale.
A beautiful Ruby Necklace with Late (ca. 8th - 9th century CE) Byzantine Gold Beads
MJ2115Regular price $1,950 USD
For related gold bead examples see: Dubin, L. "The History of Beads" p.68 #62.
Condition: Intact and excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 18 inches (45.7 cm)
Provenance: Gold beads: ex. Sumer Gallery, (Henry Anavian) NYC., acquired 1970s-1980s, by descent to family.
A small Greek Gold Diadem, Late Hellenistic Period, ca 1st century BCE
GJ2112Regular price $1,200 USD
A diadem (from the Greek 'diadema' from 'diadeo': to bind round, or fasten) was used as a symbol of royal dignity. Funerary diadems, such as this example, were known from Mycenaean times where sets of golden plates often covered the forehead of the illustrious person buried in the tomb.
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall. Presented on a museum-quality custom mount.
Dimensions: Length: 5 1/2 inches (14 cm)
Provenance: Ex. Sumer Gallery, (Henry Anavian) NYC., acquired 1970s-1980s, by descent to family.
A Byzantine Silver Portrait Ring, ca. 6th century CE
RJ2145Regular price $3,950 USD
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall, a very wearable ring.
Dimensions: US ring size 8 (UK=Q, DE=18, CH=17 3/4, JP=16)
Provenance: David S. Lavender (Antiques), London UK, as part of a collection assembled prior to early 2000s, thereafter private Canadian collection.
A Roman Black Gryllos Ringstone Intaglio, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st century CE
RJ2115Regular price $4,950 USD
The elliptical black onyx intaglio engraved with a gryllos, or composite of human and animal parts, depicting the upper body of a man merged with the upper body of a wolf.
Grylloi, derived from the Italic word grillo ("freak") and the Latin gryllus ("caricature"), were popular subjects for the ancient Romans. Artists reportedly enjoyed creating these fantastic creatures with all combinations of parts, although certain combinations seemed to be more popular than others. While undoubtedly extremely amusing to the Romans, grylloi served a more serious purpose as well; they were thought to be talismans that acted as protection against the evil eye. Their strangeness was said to "attract the evil eye and thus lessens its force against its victims."
For a related example, see accession number 41.160.655 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of Greek and Roman Art.
Ref: Richter, Gisela M.A., Catalogue of Engraved Gems: Greek, Etruscan, Roman, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1956), p. 114.
Dimensions: US ring size: 9
Condition: A minor chip to the intaglio surface otherwise in very good condition, set in a modern 18k gold ring.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired from the trade, previously in a private UK collection.
A fine Islamic Gold Filigree Pendant, ca. 14th - 15th century CE
MJ2109Regular price $5,950 USD
Superb D-shaped filigree pendant set with a central garnet cabochon, surrounded with overall fine filigree and granulated vine and floral decoration and granulation border to the front face, a tubular filigree suspension tube is applied to the top, together with two side suspension rings on either side. Strung as a necklace on a 14K gold woven chain.
Dimensions: Pendant length: 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm), Chain length: 16 inches (40.63 cm), stamped 585, Necklace weight: 11.4 grams.
Condition: The pendant is intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Ex. Sumer Gallery, (Henry Anavian) NYC, acquired 1970s - 1980s and then by descent to family.