Group view of the Ceres Collection of cameo and intaglio rings to be auctioned during Bonhams Fine Jewellery auction. Image courtesy of Bonhams
LONDON— In the Fine Jewellery sale on September 17, 2014, Bonhams will offer for sale “The Ceres Collection”: an important collection of 101 engraved cameo and intaglio rings that range in date from as early as the 4th Century BC. Estimated at £100,000, the Collection as a whole will be sold without reserve.
Assembled by an American family over a period of 60 years, from the 1930s-90s, the Ceres Collection provides a lesson in the history of cameos – the most ancient piece dates from the 4th century BC and others range from the Renaissance period right through to the 19th century. Since antiquity, cameos and intaglios have been a major source of admiration and widely collected. During the early civilizations of the near east, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Minoan Crete and Cyprus, intaglio were used as seals, means of identification, and a show of the owner’s wealth. Carved into stone, cameos and intaglios held great significance. There was a resurgence during the Renaissance in the art of engraving and portrait cameos of royalty when the personalities of the day were circulated and exchanged. Since then, cameos and intaglios have continued to a major source of fascination for collectors and fashioners.
Emily Barber, Director of Bonhams Jewellery Department, comments: “Since ancient times, cameos and intaglios have been regarded as the discerning person’s status symbol; with the sale of The Ceres Collection of 101 exquisite rings, Bonhams hopes to attract a new generation to appreciate the art of gem engraving.”