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Massive Gold Necklace with Four Thousand Year Old Capped Agate Barrel Bead




Agate, Carnelian, 20k gold


The necklace is 18 inches (46.3 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 60.5 gm.







A necklace of gold beads of two designs alternating with round and short barrel agate and carnelian beads with a large gold capped agate bicone tube bead at the center of the necklace. All the stone beads have been whitened from burial in alkaline soil. Portions of the beads were not affected revealing the underlying color of the stone. There are two types of gold beads. The first is composed of five layers of gold granules of three different sizes. When stacked with the largest in the center, the next size smaller to the outsides of the center and so on, it makes a spherical bead. There are three sizes of these beads; they graduate towards the back of the necklace. The largest is 7.5 mm in diameter. The middle size is 6 mm in diameter (and has four layers) and the smallest is 4.6 mm in diameter (having three layers). The round beads are formed from two hemispheres (that are slightly less than half spheres) with a collar around the hole and with a wire border around the open end. These borders are joined forming a double wire border around the circumference of the sphere. The beading tips are smaller versions of half beads with a strap of flattened wire attached to the sides of the open end. The hook and eye clasp is attached to these loops. The 20k gold has been treated to give a matte reddish patina. The carnelian beads to either side of the center bead are 7.3 mm in diameter. The smallest round beads at the back are 5 mm in diameter. There are twenty-four round beads and there are eight barrel beads at the back. The barrels beads are 5 mm in length and 4.4 mm in width with drill hole diameters of 2mm. The center bead is 5 cm in length, 1.3 cm wide at the center, 7 mm wide at the ends. The drill holes are over 4mm. It has been whitened by contact with alkaline soil; a dense and non porous zone on one side has remained unaffected as have the harder quartz bands. These now appear as gray and orange lines against the background of white. This large bead is an early Bronze Age bead from four thousand years ago and displays all the characteristics of beads made in the Indus Valley in what is now Pakistan. It has the tapered biconical shape with a sharp demarcation where the two wide bases of the cones meet in the center of the bead. The large diameter drill hole as well as this distinctive shape is unmistakable. The proportions are crisp and robust. The bead is thick in the center and about half as wide on the ends.