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Ancient Carnelian Beads with Gold Winged Discs




Carnelian, 20k gold


The necklace is 20 ¾ inches (52.7 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 22 gm.







A necklace of fifty-four carnelian beads of flattened shape with a large center bead of carnelian with a flattened shape and a rounded bottom edge, a so-called “bow” bead. There are eighteen 20k gold tabular beads and a 20k hand made gold clasp and beading tips. There are six very small carnelian beads used at the center of the necklace to allow the three center beads to hang properly when the necklace is worn. The center carnelian bead is 2.4 cm in length, 1.2 cm in width at the center and 9 mm wide on the ends. The bead has a thickness of 5 mm. The drill hole diameter is 3 mm. The fifty-four carnelian beads graduate is size to the back of the necklace. At the center, the largest bead is 8.8 mm in length, 8 mm in width and 3.5 mm in thickness. The diameter of the drill hole is 1.5 mm. The beads are lozenge shaped in cross section; they taper to the top and bottom edges. The smallest bead at the back of the necklace is 4 mm in length, 5 mm in width and 2.5 mm in thickness. The beads are strung in groups of three with a tabular gold bead separating the groups. The largest pair of these at the front of the necklace is 8.5 mm in length and 1.1 cm in width. They decrease in size until at the back they are only 4 mm in length and 5 mm in width. The gold beads are strung so that they are always slightly wider than the two beads facing them. The design is inspired by early Bronze Age “winged disc” beads which are from the same period as the large carnelian bead at the center. The large drill hole (3 mm diameter) is indicative of an age of over four thousand years. This bead came from what is now Afghanistan. The flattened carnelian beads are about two thousand years old and come from the Swat Valley in what is now northern Pakistan. The six tiny carnelian beads used as spacers at the center are also from early Bronze Age Afghanistan.