Intaglio Rings – the technique of carving or engraving an image into a gemstone or precious metal.
The classical history of gem-engraving in Europe began in the second quarter of the sixth century BC, when new materials and techniques became available to the Greek artist. The techniques to work the harder stones, mainly the use of a cutting wheel and drill, probably driven by a bow, were passed down to the Romans.
The materials used for Roman intaglios differed little from the earlier Hellenistic period, with a great variety of coloured translucent stones coming from the East and Egypt including garnets, carnelian and amethyst.
Every prominent Roman would wear an intaglio ring, usually set in gold, which he’d use as a seal on documents.
Julius Caesar and Lorenzo de Medici were famous collectors.
There are four Intaglios in the museum.