GOLD GEMSTONE RING WITH GARNET INTAGLIO OF A CRUCIFORM MONOGRAM
Early Byzantine, c. 550-600 AD
Gold and Garnet
Circumference 38.26 mm.; weight 3.8 gr.; US size 0.75; UK size A ½
A hoop of tubular wire between two beaded wires joins a thin, circular box-bezel; four pellets mark the join, two on either side of the bezel. Set in the bezel is a convex garnet gem that is carved with a mirror-inverted cruciform Greek monogram composed of Φ, Π, Ν, Ε, Α, Ο, and Υ, probably ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥ, Epiphaniou, a Greek surname. The use of personal monograms on jewelry was periodically fashionable in Greek and Roman times but became especially popular in the early Byzantine period.