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Ancient Chalcedony Barrel Beads, Gold, and Lapis with Trapezoidal Center Bead




Chalcedony, Lapis Lazuli, 20k gold


The necklace is 27 5/8 inches (70 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 49.5 gm.







A necklace of thirty agate barrel beads with a rhomboid agate bead at the center. The beads are all banded with transparent quartz and opaque white quartz. The center bead is striking with bands that extend through the transparent quartz giving almost a moire effect when seen in depth. The agate beads alternate with cylindrical beads of lapis lazuli. All the beads are spaced by sixty-eight gold ring beads. There are gold beading tips and a hook and eye clasp. The center bead is 2.5 cm in length, 2.2 cm at the widest point and 1.6 cm wide at the ends. It is 6mm in thickness and the diameter of the drill hole is 4mm. It is from the Bronze Age and is around four thousand years old. There is some chipping at the drill hole at one end and some wear at the drill hole on the other end. The bead has unusual optical qualities, a kind of moire effect caused by the thin bands that go all the way through the bead being seen at slightly different angles by each of our two eyes simultaneously. All the agate barrel beads but the two at the very back of the necklace have large drill holes indicating they are four thousand years old. The two small beads are probably two thousand years old. The smallest of the Bronze age beads are 7mm in length, 5mm wide at the center, 3.6 mm at the ends and having a drill hole diameter of 3mm. Some are nearly straight tubes (the first bead to the left of the center bead in the photograph)- length of 2.3 cm, width at the center of 6.3mm and width at the end of 5.2 mm. The drill hole is 2.8mm. Some are more sharply tapered (first bead to the right )- length of 1.68 cm, width at center 1.7 cm, width at the end 4mm, diameter of drill hole 3mm. The second, third and fourth beads back from the center beads all have similar proportions (third back from center on left)- 1.75 cm in length, 8.2mm at the center, 5mm at the ends with a drill hole diameter of 3.3mm. The fifth and seventh beads from the center have the same proportions being shorter: (fifth from right) length 9.5 mm, width at center 6.2mm, end width 5mm, hole diameter, 3mm. (seventh from right) length 1.13mm, center width 6 mm, end width 4.5mm, hole diameter 3.2mm. The eighth bead from the center on both side are also similar short barrel beads. There are thirty-six lapis lazuli beads in the necklace. Most are plain cylinders of various lengths; there is a cornerless cube type, a rectangular solid as well as tapered barrel shapes. They graduate in diameter from 6mm down to 3.5mm. They vary in length from 10mm to 3.5mm. The beading tips are gold cylinders with flattened wire straps that attach around the open end. These are the attachment points for the hook and eye clasp. The cylinders are pierced through the closed end. This allows the knots at the end of the cords to be hidden within and provides the transition from the cord on which the beads are strung to the hook and eye clasp.