Roman ring depicting a dolphin


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ITEMRing depicting a dolphin
PERIOD1st – 3rd Century A.D
DIMENSIONS24 mm x 20 mm
CONDITIONGood condition
PROVENANCEEx English private collection, acquired between 1980 – 1990

In ancient Rome, dolphins held significant symbolic meaning and were often associated with various aspects of Roman life, including maritime trade, naval power, and mythology. Depictions of dolphins, particularly in jewelry such as rings, were common in Roman art and material culture, serving both decorative and symbolic purposes. Dolphin-shaped rings were popular accessories worn by individuals of various social classes, showcasing the wearer’s affinity for the sea, wealth, or personal taste.

Dolphin-shaped rings were crafted from a variety of materials, including gold, silver, bronze, and precious gemstones, with each material conveying different messages and social statuses. Gold dolphin rings, for example, were considered luxurious items reserved for the elite and symbolized wealth, status, and prosperity. Silver and bronze dolphin rings were more affordable and accessible to the general populace, serving as fashionable accessories worn for everyday adornment and personal style.

The dolphin motif in Roman rings also carried symbolic significance beyond mere aesthetics. Dolphins were often associated with the god Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, who was depicted riding dolphins in classical art and mythology. Additionally, dolphins were believed to be creatures of good fortune and protection, and wearing a dolphin ring was thought to bring luck and safeguard the wearer from harm during sea voyages or maritime endeavors.