c. AD 1–25
Diameter: 3.5 cm (1 3/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1977.13
According to the Roman author Pliny, ancient carnelian was primarily sourced from India.
This intaglio, or engraved gem, depicts an eagle with wings partially spread, a lightning bolt clutched in its feet. The bird looks to the upper right, suggesting it may be about to take flight. This gem is expertly carved, with each individual feather of the eagle described with thin lines. The eagle was a symbol associated with the Roman imperial family, Roman military, and Jupiter, the supreme Roman deity. The setting is likely ancient, and it retains traces of enameling in some loops.
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