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This is an ancient Roman hardstone cameo, dating to the 2nd - 3rd century AD. The cameo is simply cut from layered nicolo onyx, depicts the facing 3/4 bust of a Gorgoneion head of Medusa. Similar amulet cameos of Medusa have been found mainly in Britain and the Rhineland, dated to the 2nd - 4th century AD (see: Objects and Identities: Roman Britain and the North-western Provinces; By Hella Eckardt 2014). It would appear the style was fashionable in the North Western provinces, not in Italy or Eastern provinces of Rome. Wearing the image of Medusa would have been a very magical and protective experience, the portrait designed to ward off evil and to attract good luck. This type of magical jewellery is classed as an apotropaic, worn in finger rings, pendants and earrings. Today this ancient gem is suitable for remounting into a gold finger ring or to add to your collection.
DATE: c. 2nd - 3rd century A.D.
MATERIAL: Nicolo Onyx
SIZE: 16mm x 8mm
WEIGHT: 2.7 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private Collection, Vienna. Austria.