The carving on this ring is thought to be Caligula’s fourth wife
The 2,000-year-old jewel is made out of a single piece of sapphire, one of the hardest stones in the world. Carving a portrait that delicate must have required a significant amount of skill. The woman is believed to be Caesonia, Caligula’s fourth wife, who was reportedly very beautiful.
This ring is famous not only because of its origins but also because it had been part of the famous Marlborough Gems, a series of carved gemstones and cameos amassed by the 4th Earl of Marlborough in the 1800s. The collection was sold off in 1899, and many gems are still missing.