|Sardonyx Intaglio Signet Ring|
Rome, 100-200 A.D.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This gold and sardonyx signet ring is so finely made that you’d, at first, not believe that it dates between 100 and 200 A.D. Made in Rome, the bezel-set intaglio of this ring has been engraved with an ant—a traditional symbol of the Roman goddess Ceres who was considered the mother goddess of grain and fertility. Her name, in fact, was adapted into the word, “Cereal,” which is considered her gift to humankind. A ring such as this was intended to bring prosperity to the person who wore it. Other similar rings were engraved with bees and butterflies.