The orange and white agate carved in relief to depict the bust of a bearded male figure wearing a laurel wreath, possibly Hercules, inclined to the right, mounted in yellow gold, mid 18th Century, signed A P, possibly for Anton Pichler. Ring size 51 1/2. Weight: 5.05 grams
Notes: Anton Pichler (April 12, 1697 – September 14, 1779) was a gem-engraver, originally from the Austrian Tyrol, who first settled in Naples and then Rome in 1743. His sons Giovanni and Luigi continued his work and became renowned gem-engravers in their own right. Giovanni the eldest was perhaps more revered but this is in no way to diminish Luigi who had commissions from the Pope Pius IV and Francis II. Anton mainly reproduced intaglios and cameos from antiquity that were increasingly high demand in the build up of height of Neoclassicism in the second half of the 18th Century. The most famous origin of the olive or laurel wreath is in its use to crown winners in the Ancient Greek Olympic Games. As there was a desire to bestow mythical importance to occasions in Ancient Greece, the Gods' involvement in these games has been written into history. There are a few stories for the origin of the games, but the most recognised one has Heracles, a supreme athlete himself, as the creator of the first Olympic Games to honour his father Zeus.