ring: mid-16th century; cameo: early Hellenistic 4th century B.C.
Turquoise, enamel, gold
Ring setting, overall: 1 x 1 1/16 in. (2.6 x 2.7 cm); visible cameo (confirmed): 11 x 9.6 mm
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Rogers Fund, 1910
Not on view
This vibrant carving has previously been described as made of glass and as a product of the French Renaissance, but it is in turquoise, a rarity in cameos of any period. That it is reputed to have been in the Este collections may make an Italian origin likelier. It is not to be ruled out even that the stone is Hellenistic, from as early as the fourth century B.C., but the heroic type of Alexander the Great’s profile was adopted by various Hellenistic successors. In any case, the person who caused it to be set surely thought of it as ancient and as representing Alexander. It is probably a fragment whose broken edges the goldsmith has deftly concealed by forming the bezel as a lion skin, a motif that Alexander borrowed from Hercules.
Este ; Kircheriano and Este Collection ; J. Marshall (until 1910; to MMA)
Artist: Cameo by Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio (Italian, Parma or Verona ca. 1500/1505–1565 Krakow (?))Date: ca. 1530–40, and 19th centuryMedium: Sardonyx, with inlaid gold and silver details; mounted in 19th century as a pendant in gold, with enamel, pearl and rubyAccession: 17.190.869On view in:Gallery 536
Artist: Enamel on reverse after a design by Étienne Delaune (French, Orléans 1518/19–1583 Strasbourg)Date: ca. 1550–60, back 19th centuryMedium: Chalcedony, mounted in gold with enamel, rubies, emeralds, diamond, and pearlAccession: 17.190.907On view in:Gallery 544