Ancient Roman Isis Fortuna intaglio ring. Set with an oval cornelian intaglio depicting a full length figure of the goddess Isis Fortuna, holding a rudder and cornucopia and wearing an Egyptian horned headdress, in a closed backrubover setting, encircled by a fine wirework border and flanked by integrated smoothly conforming shoulders which taper to a keeled D-shapeshank. Tested yellow gold, approximately 7g in weight, circa 2nd-3rd century AD, accompanied by an Oxford Labs X-ray fluorescence report stating the composition of the metal.
The goddess Isis Fortuna was a composite of the Egyptian goddess Isis and the Roman goddess Fortuna. Isis Fortuna here possesses the attributes of both goddesses, namely the horned headdress of Isis and Fortuna's rudder (refering to her control over the course of human lives), and the cornucopia (symbolising abundance and prosperity).
The history of signet or seal rings is lengthy and illustrious, dating back to 1400 BC when they were first worn by the Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian civilisations. Throughout history, signet rings were often decorative and beautiful, however they were also highly functional items which played an important administrative role within society. By pressing the signet ring into hot wax or soft clay, a distinctive impression would be left that then functioned as an official seal or ‘signature’.
In ancient Egypt, pharaohs and nobles used distinctive signet rings made of hardstone or a blue pottery called faience. Such rings were flat on one side, with an ornately inscribed design incorporating symbols and hieroglyphic text.
In the Middle Ages, signet rings were used by wealthy, powerful individuals to sign and seal their letters, proving that they were indeed authentic documents whilst preventing forgeries and tampering.
Thanks to a growing merchant class, signet rings became a form of branding during the Renaissance. As European merchants took to the Silk Road and began transporting goods overseas, they used signet rings to stamp seals on their shipments, making it easier to identify goods on arrival.
By the Victorian era and continuing through to today, signet rings have become a staple of the well-dressed gentlemen.
We are privileged to be able to offer an outstanding collection of these very special and rare rings which can be prized, appreciated and worn today.