I have a few pieces of very old 24 K gold jewelry (Greek and Persian
about 400 BC, Iran about 800 BC and Sassanian, 200 to 600 AD. One of
the Greek ones is a seal ring which is a carved carnelian (magnificent
horse). It was still in its crushed 24K gold setting when I got it.
I had a new setting recreated exactly like the old on in 24K, and I
wore it for years. The gold developed a beautiful patina from getting
banged around as happens with rings on your hand. And it flattened a
bit so the part that goes around the finger is no longer circular.
Looks absolutely terrific.
Incidentally, its difficult to tell how the carver did the work. On
most seals, the part that touches the wax is flat, and when you look
at the ring, you see a mirror image of the picture that results form
sticking the seal into wax, clay, silly putty or whatever. But on the
Greek carnelian, the seal part is not flat, but curved, so that to
make the seal you have to roll it across the blob of waiting wax. The
picture that results is of a magnificent horse, but when you look at
the ring, the horse is so distorted by the curvature that it’s not
that obvious that it is a horse, only that it is some kind of animal.
I constantly marvel at the skill of the carver, who could visualize
the consequences of the process of rolling the seal across the
receiving wax. Even if he (she?) repeatedly tested the work in
progress by rolling it across some wax, the difficulty of relating the
view of the carving he was making to the picture made in the wax
during the tests boggles my mind. Has anyone else seen rounded seal
surfaces like this? (Can anybody understand what I’m trying to
I am just a very inexperienced student, and I hope some day to be
able to create jewelry out of 24K gold. But it will be a long time
before I have developed the necessary skills. Dian Deevey