Later Archaic Greek gems: island scarabs

One group of late archaic gems retains the old handcut technique on soft stones like those used for the Island Gems of the 7th/early 6th centuries, and are probably also made in the Greek islands, perhaps Euboea to judge from the lettering of some inscriptions. The technique produces a more sculptural, craggy style than we see on the wheel-cut hardstone intaglios.

Gem image

Green serpentine scarab. A satyr tuning his lyre. Signed, Onesimos. Island Scarab.

Boston 27.673, LHG no. 24. 15mm. AGGems no. 345

Gem image

Green serpentine pseudo-scarab; the back is carved as a satyr's head, not a beetle; there are few other archaic Greek scarabs so treated. A man with a kithara mounting a dais (bema). Signed 'Syries made [me]'. Island Scarab.

London, Walters no. 492. 18mm. AGGems no. 352.

Gem image

Green serpentine scarab. A sphinx. Island Scarab.

Paris, Bibl.Nat. de Luynes no. 290. 15mm. AGGems no. 349.

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