The period of jewelry featuring Roman figures is known as the “Grand Tour” period or the “Neoclassical Revival” period. It emerged in the late 18th century and peaked in the early 19th century. The Grand Tour was a popular travel itinerary among wealthy European aristocrats and intellectuals who visited ancient Roman sites, such as Pompeii and Herculaneum, in Italy. These travelers developed a fascination with classical art and culture, leading to a revival of interest in Roman and Greek aesthetics.
As a result, jewelry and decorative arts from this period often incorporated motifs inspired by ancient Roman and Greek mythology, history, and architecture. Roman figures, such as emperors, goddesses, and mythological characters like Venus, Apollo, and Hercules, were frequently depicted in cameos, intaglios, and other forms of jewelry. These pieces were often crafted from materials like shell, coral, onyx, and agate, with the carvings or engravings depicting the figures in intricate detail.
This Neoclassical Revival period in jewelry design reflected the broader cultural movement known as Neoclassicism, which sought to emulate and revive the artistic styles of ancient Greece and Rome. This fascination with classical antiquity significantly influenced jewelry design during that time.