Ancient Carnelian Beads with Gold Winged Discs (3)
Carnelian, 20k gold
The necklace is 20 ¾ inches (52.7 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 12 gm.
A necklace of one hundred carnelian beads and twenty 20k gold tabular beads. The carnelian beads are flattened in shape; the top and bottom surfaces are curved so that they meet meet as an edge on the sides. The largest bead in the center is 1.2 cm in length and 7.8 mm in width. It is 3.5 mm in thickness and the drill hole diameter is 2 mm. The carnelian beads graduate very slightly in size from the front of the necklace to the back, but it is barely perceptible as the difference between widths in the front and back is only a little over a millimeter. The carnelian beads gain slightly in width only in the first inch to either side of the center bead. The tabular gold beads also graduate slightly from being 5 mm in length at the center to being 4 mm in length at the back. The necklace is light weight and delicate. The flattened form of the beads makes them weigh only about one third as much as if the beads were circular in cross section. The tabular gold beads are made by joining together two thin flat oval sheets with a raised ridge running down the middle so that the ridges line up forming a hollow channel through which the bead may be strung. This “winged disc” bead was developed during the archaic period over four and one half thousand years ago. The two gold sheets were fused together without the use of soft solder, using the same technique employed in the use of decorative granulation. The result is a bead with no copper or zinc in the alloy and the maximum reflective surface with the minimum amount of weight. The gold beading tips and clasp are also hand made from 20k gold.