As its etymology suggests (from the Greek gluptos meaning “engraved”), glyptic is the art of engraving precious, colored or decorative stones. Seals and intaglios are hollowed, while cameos are carved in relief. The art of glyptic appeared in Mesopotamia towards the fifth millennium BC in the form of seals and the first cylinder-seals. The Egyptians gave magnificent
expression to this technique with amulets engraved in emeralds or stones such as turquoise, lapis-lazuli and amethyst. Greeks and the Romans created superb intaglios and cameos whose quality remained unsurpassed until the Renaissance period in Italy and France.