The amethyst was used as a gem-stone by the ancient Egyptians, and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglios.
Ludwig Ross, by his explorations in the Greek islands from 1835 onwards, called attention to certain early intaglios, since known as Inselsteine; but it was not till 1878 that C. T.
Myres in 1904) are represented on intaglios and frescoes.
Pippin the Short and the early Carolings made use of intaglios, both actual antiques and copies from them; their successors had seals of ordinary types usually showing their busts.
The use of engraved gems in the early middle ages has already been noticed; but the taste for antique intaglios was not confined to any one period.