An engraved gem, or an intaglio, with a raised decoration is commonly referred to as a cameo. The first engraved gems originated from the 5th millennium BC. They were very common and popular in Egypt, Assyria, Persia and Greece. The preferred material were stones from quartz group, such as agate or carnelian. In addition to its utilitarian function as a seal, an engraved gem ​​was also collected as a decorative piece of jewellery. They were also seen as a good luck symbol, which would keep their owner safe against any misfortune.

blog.php-814 Onyx scarab with male figure on horse 3rd - 2nd century BC
Estimate: $970

Seals in the form of scarabs were created by the Egyptians several thousand years ago. However, the use of the sacred and divine beetle as a seal was not confined to the realm of the Nile, the tradition was used in other places including where the Persian Empire reached.

Carnelian with female head Intaglio 1st - 3rd century AD Estimate: $130 Carnelian with female head Intaglio 1st - 3rd century AD
Estimate: $130

The cameos came about after engraved gems, originating in the 4th century in Hellenistic Egypt. Later they became very popular in ancient Rome, but never spread as much as their engraved relatives.

Carnelian with female offrant Intaglio 1st - 2nd century AD Estimate: $970 Carnelian with female offrant Intaglio 1st - 2nd century AD
Estimate: $970

Carnelian with erotic scene Intaglio 1st - 2nd century AD Estimate: $260 Carnelian with erotic scene Intaglio 1st - 2nd century AD
Estimate: $260

Lapis lazuli scarab with king fights lion Persia, Achaemenid Empire, 6th - 4th century BC Estimate: $100 Lapis lazuli scarab with king fights lion Persia, Achaemenid Empire, 6th - 4th century BC
Estimate: $100

Hairpin and banded agate cameo with male portrait 2nd - 3rd century AD Estimate: $200 GBP Hairpin and banded agate cameo with male portrait 2nd - 3rd century AD
Estimate: $200

Only the names of the pharaohs in Ancient Egypt were allowed to be edged on to cartouches. The cartouche of this seal probably represents the throne name of Thutmose III, the sixth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, which was the dynasty of such famous pharaohs including Tutankhamun and Akhenaten (and his wife, Nefertiti.)

blog.php-820 Onyx with Herakles head Intaglio 1st - 2nd century AD
Estimate: $520

blog.php-824 Yellow jasper with scorpion Intaglio 1st - 2nd century AD
Estimate: $490

Check out Bertolami Fine Arts catalog of more than 2 000 objects here.

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