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Ancient Roman cameo ring. Set with an oval cabochon quartz cameo, intricately carved in relief to depict a grotesque profile with exaggerated features, in an open back rubover collet setting, encompassed by a fine wirework border and set on a ridged shank. Tested yellow gold, approximately 4.1g in weight, circa 3rd-4th century AD.
Grotesques, similar to modern day clowns, were often actors in farcical plays and mimes. They typically had exaggerated features, were bald and often were depicted grimacing. One theory is that a grotesque was worn as a charm to ward off bad luck.