Aquamarine and gold intaglio ring depicting the daughter of Roman emperor Titus, £46,000 at Reeman Dansie.

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The works of art specialists who travelled to Colchester to view what now appears to be a cast of Mercury by Caspar von Turkelsteyn (see ATG No 2605) also admired an aquamarine and gold intaglio ring guided at a similarly tempting £100-150. It had come for sale from the same deceased estate.

There was a time when an item such as this might have made several dealers a good wage as it was traded up the food chain many times. Instead, picked up by pretty much everyone online, it met fierce competition in the room, and sold at £46,000.

Specialist trade identified the subject of the ring as Julia Titi (c.63-91), daughter of Roman emperor Titus. The original intaglio, an ancient Roman jewel after a Greek exemplar, is in the Bibliothèque Nationale with this Colchester jewel believed to be one of a number of copies made in the 18th century.

Several others of this type are depicted in the James Tassie archive collection catalogue. Despite speculation it may be one of the missing Marlborough jewels, the example in that famous collection is listed as being in ‘hyacinth garnet’ or sapphire.

Grand Tour tempter


Grand Tour gold and hardstone cameo bracelet, £14,200 at Keys.

The glyphic arts, once a relatively neglected area of the jewellery trade, are now centre stage. Another good example emerged for sale at Aylsham saleroom Keys on July 27.

This Grand Tour gold and hardstone bracelet, set with 11 oval cameos carved with cherubs, animals, insects and portrait busts was guided at £400-600 but found an online buyer at £14,200.