A Roman Rock Crystal Cosmetic Container
Circa 1st Century A.D.
Height 1 3/4 inches (4.5 cm).
Property from the Collection of Dr. Hernan D. Ruf, Pompano Beach, Florida
Private Collection, East Coast, United States.
Fortuna Fine Arts Ltd., New York, Venerable Traditions, Works of Art from the Ancient World (Exhibition Catalogue), 2007, no. 20.
Artemis Gallery, Colorado, 19 July 2018, Lot 34E.
This marvelous miniature vessel was skillfully cut from a single block of rock crystal. For much of the Roman world vessels made from this material were highly desired and popular luxury items. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist from the 1st Century A.D., described rock crystal as having come from ice or snow. He wrote that over time, after the ice was impacted and hardened, it would metamorphosize into rock crystal.