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This is an ancient Roman hardstone intaglio, dating to the 2nd - 3rd century A.D. It is superbly cut on on a red jasper gemstone, with a representation of Serapis enthroned with Cerberus. Similar gems are recorded in The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database (see CBd-409 in the British Museum). The gem likely portrays the cult statue of Serapis from Alexandria, attributed to 3rd century BC sculptor, Bryaxis, See the Statue of Serapis with Cerberus 59.148.38 Liverpool Museum. Such a gem would have once been set into a gold or silver signet ring, used as a private signature to authenticate letters and transactions. Today this ancient gem has survived intact and in excellent excavated condition.
DATE: c. 2nd - 3rd century A.D.
SIZE: 14mm x 10mm x 3mm
WEIGHT: 0.8 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private Collection, Marseille, France.