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Ancient Etched Carnelian Barrels with Round Beads and Gold




Carnelian, 20k gold


The necklace is 19 inches (48.9 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 37.7 gm.







A necklace of sixteen closely matched etched carnelian tapered barrel shaped beads, alternating with fifteen round etched carnelian beads with various patterns including circles (7), zigzags (4), melon stripes (3). Three of the round beads that have three circles around the circumference also have dots in the center of the circles as well as having circles around the drill holes on each end. Between each of the carnelian bead are granulated ring beads of 20k gold, thirty in all. The beading tips are granulated and they and the hook and eye clasp are all 20k gold. The round bead in the center of the necklace is 9 mm in length, 1.3 mm in width. With a drill hole diameter of 1.8 mm. The round beads graduate in size to the back of the necklace with the smallest being 5 mm in length, 5.5 mm in width, with a drill hole diameter of 1.3 mm. Thirteen of the barrel shaped carnelian beads have five stripes, two have six stripes and one has four. The stripes seem to be placed to fill the space so that the longer beads have the higher number of stripes. Half of them have slightly flattened opposite sides, which means that the width in the center is less when the bead is rotated a quarter turn. The largest of these barrel shaped beads is 2.3 cm in length, 8 mm 6.7 mm in width at the center, and 3.2 mm 2.8 mm at the ends. The drill hole diameter is 1.2 mm. The smallest of the striped barrels is 5 mm in length, 6.8 mm 5.2 mm in width at the center and with a drill hole diameter of 1.2 mm. The flattened sides are probably a consequence of the roughing out procedures used in chipping the carnelian to the approximate shape before grinding and polishing. The etched carnelian beads are probably from the middle period from India and what is now present day Pakistan which would make them about two thousand years old. Horace Beck attributed the specimens known to him to three main periods: Early (before 2000 BC), Middle (300 BC to 200 AD), and Late (600 to 1000 AD). Francis has expanded and revised this dating as follows: Early (2700 BC to 1800 BC), Middle (550 BC to 200 AD), and Late (224 to 642 AD).