Glyptography comes from the Greek word glyptos which means to carve. In jewelry glyptography is the art of gemstone carving and applies to both intaglios and cameos. Begun in ancient times as one of the earliest forms of communication, glyptography continues to be found today in jewelry and decorative arts.

Circa 15,000 BC, early rock carvings called petroglyphs depicted signs and symbols scratched into rock in an attempt to communicate and record events. These early scratchings were comprised of pictographs that recorded events and ideographs representing thoughts and ideas. Pictographs eventually evolved into the earliest known form of writing, cuneiform.

It wasn’t long before these symbols were employed in an attempt to identify and protect property and to authenticate documents. The carvings themselves were no longer made on walls but on smaller more portable surfaces such as tablets and smaller yet, seals. Seals made of wood, ivory and stone were small in scale and contained engraved symbols that could be pressed into soft clay or wax which in turn could be affixed to nearly any surface. Items that had been “sealed” were considered safe and protected and violators were dealt with harshly. The carved stone seal itself was often worn as a amulet of good fortune and offered protection from evil to the wearer.

From the Heart

α Scorpii, the binary star system better known as Antares, is the heart of the constellation, Scorpius. 

Meet The Artist

Jos A. Elizondo

Glyptographer and Jeweler

As a modern artist focused primarily on the ancient art of glyptography, I make one of a kind statement pieces, from the avant-garde to the more traditional, as well as pieces in the ancient and classical style.