A Roman Gold and Garnet Ring, ca. 2nd - 4th century CE
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The delicate gold ring, the simple hoop is of thin flat wire that joins a bezel consisting of four cells that each contain a convex garnet.
The large amount of surviving jewelry dating from the first and second centuries discovered throughout the Roman Empire, from Britain to Syria, shows that gold jewelry often served as a mark of social status. Most of these discoveries are chance finds of hidden treasure or merely lost items, which allow only a partial picture of how the jewelry was used. Somewhat more informative are the finds of jewelry from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the other cities in the region abandoned by residents who fled in haste or worn by those who died trying to escape the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. The citizens there were no doubt very wealthy and owned a good amount of gold jewelry, although there is a general simplicity of style and not a great variety of ring types. The gemstones set in jewelry also tended to be of common varieties, mostly carnelians and agates. However, there were also many rings and earrings set with emeralds, garnets, and pearls, indicating that there was considerable interest in these rarer and no doubt more valuable materials.
Dimensions: US ring size: 7 3/4
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired from the trade in the 1990s.