Collection: Macquarie University History Museum

Intaglio Ring depicting the Three Graces

Accession # MU4760
Culture Roman
Period Mid-High Empire
Date 1st - 2nd Century CE
Provenance Unknown
Material/s Silver and green gemstone
Dimensions c. 51mm
Collection Macquarie University History Museum
Source Macquarie University, MAC
Photograph; Effy Alexakis Photowrite
MU4760 is a silver intaglio (engraved gemstone) ring depicting the Three Graces. The ring has been horizontally set with an oval green gemstone intaglio that is finely engraved with three female standing figures which represent the Three Graces; Thalia, Euphrosyne and Aglaia. The gemstone is set within a closed back silver ring, the surface of which is slightly abraded and marked. Rings were commonly worn by both Roman men and women and fine examples such as MU4760 would have functioned as an obvious sign of wealth, social status and merit. Gemstone engraving was a popular artform in Roman society and MU4760 is an excellent example of the exceptional work done by highly skilled specialist craftsmen. Due to the hardness of the gemstone the manufacturing process for rings such MU4760 would have been a difficult and lengthy process. Designs were carved into the gemstone using fine metal tools and an abrasive powder made from a material harder than the stone itself.

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Macquarie University History Museum (2020). Intaglio Ring depicting the Three Graces, MU4760. // (accessed on: 14 June 2020).

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