Greco-Roman, probably 1st century BC-1st century AD cameo ring, £19,000 at Irita Marriott.

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Antiques dealer and gem specialist Giovanni Tomasso spotted its potential and secured it for a hammer price of £19,000.

Tomasso said it is Greco-Roman, probably 1st century BC-1st century AD and the damage to the cameo “probably happened 2000 years ago”.

He added: “This ring has the quality of a Marlborough gem (but isn’t). It is exceptionally rare to find something like this in a regional auction house.”

Tomasso guessed it must have some kind of “noble provenance” and following the sale, auctioneer Irita Marriott confirmed it came from a “local Melbourne family who have since told us that they have royalty in their blood line”. The ring will be part of Tomasso’s personal collection of thousands of cameo and intaglio gems. He plans to publish a book on his extensive collection later this year.

Among his other recent purchases for his collection was a medieval seal matrix, unearthed in a Hampshire field by a metal detectorist which sold at a hammer price of £67,000 at Essex Coin Auctions on March 16 (as reported in ATG No 2636).


Cutch silver trefoil-shaped tray, £7100 at Irita Marriott.

Another lot of particular note in the April 18-19 Derbyshire sale was a Cutch silver trefoil-shaped tray chased with a boar-hunting scene against a carpet of foliate scrolls and rosettes. The three feet were modelled as recumbent camels.

It was consigned from a local Derbyshire deceased gentlemen’s estate.

Although unmarked, it was of the quality associated with the best silversmith working in British India: Oomersi Mawji of Bhuj. As Wynyard Wilkinson notes in his seminal book Indian Silver 1858-1947 published in 1999: “Working the silver with ingenious skill and patience, Oomersi Mawji and his sons [from the cobbler caste] raised the quality of decoration on Cutch silver to an art form.”


Cutch silver trefoil-shaped tray, £7100 at Irita Marriott.

A teapot with a francolin head forming the spout, a lizard the handle and a scorpion the finial realised £7500 when Chiswick Auctions sold the Stewart collection of silver of the Raj period in February 2023.

This 13in (32cm) tray commanded a similar sum, hammering at £7100 (estimate £800-1000).