The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, November 30, 2015

Bonhams to sell the most important collection of cameo and intaglio rings to be offered in 100 years
2500 years of history at your fingertips: Ceres, the Roman Goddess of fertility and harvest, heralds a fruitful September sale. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- “The Ceres Collection”: an important collection of 101 engraved cameo* and intaglio** rings that range in date from as early as the 4th Century BC will be offered for sale at Bonhams, New Bond Street, in the Fine Jewellery sale on 17th September.

The Collection as a whole is worth an estimated £100,000 and is to be sold without reserve.

The Ceres Collection was assembled by an American family over a period of 60 years, from the 1930s-90s. The collection provides a lesson in the history of cameos - the most ancient piece dates from the 4th century BC and others range from the Renaissance period right through to the 19th century. Several gems depict the Roman deity Ceres, goddess of fertility and the harvest, who in turn, lends her auspicious name to the collection and heralds a fruitful September sale.

The engraved gems depict in miniature a broad range of subjects, from gods and goddesses of the ancient world, Greek and Roman mythological scenes to portraits of historical figures; Alexander the Great, Socrates, Julius Cesar, Hercules and Medusa are carved in intricate detail.

The entire Ceres collection of cameos is mounted into rings, making them extremely wearable pieces of jewellery, as well as items of historical importance.

Emily Barber, Director of Bonhams Jewellery Department, comments: "Since ancient times, cameos and intaglios have been regarded as the discerning person's status symbol; with the sale of The Ceres Collection of 101 exquisite rings, Bonhams hopes to attract a new generation to appreciate the art of gem engraving."

History of the Cameo
Cameos and intaglios have been collected and admired since antiquity. Their history dates back to the early civilizations of the near east, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Minoan Crete and Cyprus, when intaglios – where the design is cut into the stone – were used as seals and means of identification as well as to show off the owner’s wealth.

As well as demonstrating social standing, cameo and intaglio carved rings also acted as amulets to bring good luck and to ward off the evil eye.

During the Renaissance there was a revival in the art of engraving and portrait cameos of royalty and personalities of the day were circulated and exchanged. In the 18th-19th century, the collecting of engraved gems reached epidemic proportions and many great collections were formed. Being miniature sculptures, cameos were greatly admired for their craftsmanship and collecting them was considered an intellectual pursuit.

The earliest cameos were created by carving the backs of Pharaonic stone scarabs; the scarabs were sometimes centuries older than their carvings. The most ancient piece in the collection is a good example of this:

A Hellenistic garnet cameo of a head dates from circa 4th Century BC, making it near 2500 years old. The oval garnet, depicting the features of a man, is cut from an even older Pharoanic stone scarab. The ring is estimated at £3,000-£5,000.

World-renowned expert Richard Falkiner, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, says: “This collection was formed over the last century and with consummate taste. The dispersal at auction of a formidable collection of Glyptics (derived from the Classical Greek word: to cut) is a rare event indeed. These cameos and intaglios, soon to find a new home, have the advantage that they are wearable.”

Other highlights from The Ceres Collection:
The pièce de résistance of the collection is a cameo depicting a Roman lady of high rank, possibly the Empress Livia, wife of the Emperor Augustus, which is offered with estimates of £1,500-£2,000. The cameo gem, dating from 1st-2nd century AD, survives as a fragment which has been repaired with gold in a later "Roman" setting. It was probably part of a much larger group portrait that could have decorated the home or a noble ancient Roman. Cameo engraving reached its zenith during the Age of Augustus and this is a fine example from this era.

Other stunning examples include an 18th-19th century cameo of the emperor Tiberius, carved from a large piece of translucent orange hessonite garnet and estimated at £2,000-£3,000.

A Roman intaglio of Ceres, Goddess of fertility and harvest, with a cornucopia and an ear of corn is carved from red Cornelian stone. The intaglio is set in a 19th century gold mount (estimate £600-800).

A Roman intaglio of Diana, Goddess of the hunt, carved with her quiver of arrows in fire orange cornelian stone, dates from circa 5th Century AD. The stone set in a later Byzantine gold ring mount and is offered for £1,000-£1,500.

An ancient intaglio in garnet, carved with a head in profile, possibly of Demetrios King of Syria (162-150 BC), which is in its original gold ring mount is estimated at £1,500-2,000.

Richard Falkiner concludes, “There is a small pool of the finest examples of cameo and intaglio gems available, thus Bonhams’ sale of the Ceres Collection is an opportunity to own a gem from this magical subject. It is an opportunity which may not occur again from a very long time indeed”.

Today's News

July 5, 2014

Most significant building project in Clark Art Institute's history opens in Massachusetts

Major exhibition puts Wales' greatest artist Richard Wilson back on international stage

Modern Art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection on view at the Royal Academy of Arts

'Treasures of the Queen City-Buffalo's Remarkable Art Collection' opens at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Prudential Eye Award winner Ben Quilty opens exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery

Exhibition of photographs by Frank Ockenfels 3 opens at Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam

Last chance to see 'Pontormo and Rosso: Diverging Paths of Mannerism' at Palazzo Strozzi

Only known Snow White billboard from 1937 offered at Heritage Auctions' Vintage Movie Posters Auction

Newly acquired photographs from the Herzog Collection on view at Kunstmuseum Basel

First major retrospective in almost 40 years of the work of J. D. Fergusson opens at Pallant House Gallery

Crime Museum's newest gallery examines: Counterfeit crimes: Are you part of the black market?

Bonhams to sell the most important collection of cameo and intaglio rings to be offered in 100 years

Bonhams appoint Honor Westmacott as its Modern, Contemporary & Impressionist Specialist in Germany

A sneek peek at the 2014 Newport Antiques Show

New works by celebrated Australian artist Anthony Lister on view at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

An exhibition of works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection on view at Bard College

'Automatic Art: Human and machine processes that make art' opens at GV Art

Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates to auction 19th and 20th century glass

Exhibition of new works by John Byrne opens at Bourne Fine Art

Five shortlisted for John Moores Painting Prize

Dialogues & Erasure: Mac Adams exhibits at gb agency in Paris

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- First solo exhibition by the American artist Mickalene Thomas in Belgium opens at Galerie Nathalie Obadia

2.- Israel accidentally finds ancient mosaic that served as pavement for a courtyard in a villa

3.- The address of Johannes Vermeer's the Little Street discovered by Rijksmuseum curator

4.- The nine lives of Russia's Hermitage cats that root out unwanted guests: Rodents

5.- Robbers make off with masterpieces by Rubens and Tintoretto from museum in Verona

6.- 17th century letters at Museum of Communication reveal refugees 'sense of loss'

7.- New museum dedicated to the artist Mu Xin opens in Zhejiang Province, China

8.- Who are the most prolific art collectors in the US today?

9.- Rubens House brings newly discovered study for a portrait by Van Dyck to Antwerp

10.- "The Nude in the XX and XXI century" curated by Jane Neal opens at Sotheby's S/2 London

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Social Network Manager and Translator: Norma Cristina Pérez Ayala Cano

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful