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Bronze Age Sardonyx and Carnelian Gold Capped Beads with Collared Round Gold Beads




Sardonyx, Carnelian, 22k gold


The necklace is 21 inches (53.4 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 99 gm.







A necklace of eleven Bronze Age agate and carnelian beads from Central Asia, what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan. Six of the beads are barrel shaped and have been capped with 22k gold. Five of the beads are tabular, two are trapezoidal and three are rounded trapezoidal shapes with the front side domed and the back side flattened. The center bead is also capped with 22k gold. There are ten round 22k gold beads and a set of matching beading tips and hook and eye clasp. The two gold beads facing the center bead are ornamented with wire collars and a wire encircling the center of the bead. The eight remaining beads have granulated collars. The gold beads are 1.25 cm in length and 1.1 cm in width. The gold caps on the two largest beads also have ends decorated with wire bands. The center bead is 3.6 cm in length (including the gold caps). The bead is 2.1 cm in width and 1 cm in thickness. There is a small chip on one edge. The capped bead to the right on the photograph is 4.6 cm in length (including the gold cap). This bead is 1.4 cm in width. The tabular bead that follows is 2.35 cm in length, 2 cm in width and 7 mm in thickness. A gold tube has been inserted in the perforation to compensate for a chip at the drill hole. The previous barrel bead had also sustained some end damage which the gold end cap covers. The carnelian barrel bead that follow is 3.6 cm in length, 1.1 cm in width at the center, and 7 mm at the ends. The tabular bead that follows is 2 cm in length, 1.7 cm in width and 6 mm in thickness. The barrel bead at the back of the necklace is 3.1 cm in length, 1 cm in width at the center and 7 mm in width at the ends. Moving back from the center bead on the left side of the photograph is a capped agate bead that is 4 cm in length (including the gold caps)and 1.2 cm in width at the center. The ends, covered by the gold caps are 8 mm in width. The actual bead without the caps is 1 cm shorter or about 3 cm. The tabular bead that follows to the back is 2.1 cm in length, 2.25 cm in width at the center a 8.5 mm in thickness. The squared off ends are 1.3 cm in width. The next barrel bead is 3.55 cm in length, 8.5mm in width at the ends. The trapezoidal tabular bead that follows is 1.55 cm in length, 1.5 cm in width at the center and 6 mm in length at the ends. The bead is 6 mm in thickness. The last bead on this side is 3 cm in length, 1 cm in width at the center and 7 mm in width at the ends. All the beads have perforations of 3mm and some (such as the half orange and half white trapezoidal bead) are even larger, indicating the beads are 4,000 to 4,500 years old. The beads have been carefully selected for their colors; the subtle variations in the red, red orange, white, pinkish white, and clear quartz, when combined with the 22k gold have a lavish and powerful effect. The intention is to amplify the beauty and majesty of the ancient beads and place them in a context that honors their importance and history. The gold beads and caps are designed to be consistent with the aesthetic of the Bronze Age as well as to hide the damage on a bead that did not escape the ravages of time and deserved to be in some way restored to its former beauty. Similarly, the gold tube inserted into the chipped out perforation on one of the beads allows it to hang properly once again.