A very beautiful and rare 18th century intaglio carved agate ring, circa 1780. It is currently a size 6 but can be resized somewhat by an expert jeweler. Please let me know if you need resizing. Measures 1-1/8 inches long and 1 inch wide. Attributed to Pichler by comparison with sister ring in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. A series of famous master carvers arose during this century. One of those carvers, of a family of carvers was Anton Pichler and his sons, Luigi, Giacomo, Giovanni and Guiseppe. Italian by birth, Anton lived from 1697 to 1779. Many of their stones are signed with Pichler in the Greek alphabet but just as many are not. This superb antique ring is presumed to be by one of the Pichlers. Without a signature one cannot say with absolute certainty which of the Pichler family members carved this, but the carving is so exceptional that it can be said with certainty that it was done by an artist at the top of his field.
The carved agate stone is set within a 15K gold English setting dating from the 18th Century. The gold is not hallmarked but tests to 15K which was typical English gold weight of the period along with 18K. It was made as a man’s ring, but looks equally appropriate on a woman today. This is one of the most common forms of rings of the time – a very simple flat plane holds the gem with the stone being held tight and secure with a slight dip around the edge. The patina of the stone and ring are exactly what one desires when looking for old intaglios of this period.
This ring has been in my collection for many years. It was verbally verified as likely Pichler at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England in 1972.
The discovery and excavation of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the mid-1700s, sparked a renewed interest in classical style. Master artists began carving cameos (positive images) and intaglios (negative images carved into the material) which were used as seals. These were crafted with amazing skill. If you are fortunate enough to find an intaglio from this period, the craftsmanship stands out as superb. Carvers used classical ancient Roman and sometimes Greek examples and reinterpreted them in their own stylistic way. Overall they tend to be deep carvings, with classical figures – often profiles of gods, goddesses or other important figures, modeled in exquisite detail.
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