Part of our ancient jewelry collection - the first true Roman jewelry wasn't produced until the beginning of the Imperial period, 27 BC, with the accession of Augustus as Emperor. As the adaption of mining techniques advanced, Roman jewelry-making blossomed in the first three centuries A.D. Many different styles of Roman earrings were popular, and the fashion of the time preferred a bold, clean simplicity of design.

While one might expect (and find) a selection of gold designs here, gemstones from South Asia were highly valued and widely traded in the ancient world and thus are represented in our Roman Collection. The gems on these pieces would have been mined in India or Sri Lanka. Then they would have made an arduous journey across the Indian Ocean, through the Red Sea and then onwards to the wider Roman world.

Near the fall of the Roman empire, Emperor Leo (AD 457–474) restricted the wearing of emeralds, pearls and sapphires to imperial use, demonstrating the high esteem in which these gems were held.