Ancient Roman glass Sol Invictus intaglio ring. Centrally set with an oval glass intaglio of Sol Invictus wearing a radiate crown, in a closed backrubover setting with a finely raised border, all to broad trumpeting shoulders which taper to a solid D-shapeshank. Tested yellow gold, approximately 9.45g, circa 3rd-4th century AD, accompanied by a museum quality impression.
Sol Invictus translated as the 'unconquered sun' was recognised by the Roman empire as the sun god. Characterised by a crown of radiating beams, the ancient Romans looked to Sol as a powerful deity of warmth, light and strength and thus became the patron of soldiers. At the height of the sun god's popularity coins, jewels, festivities and games were created in his honour.
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.