This carved, raised relief, known as a cameo, depicts
an aristocratic Roman woman in a right profile view,
so identified by her fashionable hairstyle. As cameos
were expensive to produce, the woman depicted
must have held some importance, possibly either an
empress, member of the imperial family, or a well-
known aristocrat. Being depicted in such a manner
would have been a way of honouring her.
The skill of the carver can be seen in the detailed
rendering of the woman’s hair on such a small
scale. The carving would be done in layers so as to
produce a raised relief while carving around the
relief to let the background colour of the glass or
gem protrude to create a contrasting colour.