Egyptian Carnelian Pendants and Gold
Red Jasper, Carnelian, 20k gold
The necklace is 16 inches (40.6 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 30.5gm.
A necklace of twelve jasper amulets, three carnelian amulets and two carnelian cylinder beads spaced between 20k gold granulated ring beads and plain gold tube beads. There are thirty-six groups of five rings each between the amulets and the gold tubes. In addition to the 180 granulated ring beads, there are eighteen gold tube beads. Three of the fifteen amulets are representations of “hearts”, (two of these are carnelian), and the remaining twelve are poppy seed pods, one of these is carnelian). The central jasper “heart” pendant is 2.05 cm in height, 1.3 cm in width and 6mm in thickness. The diameter of the drill hole is 1.5mm. The carnelian “heart” pendant at the left side of the photograph is 1.83 cm in height, 1.15 cm in width and 6.3mm thick. The diameter of the drill hole is 1.5mm. The carnelian “heart” pendant on the right side of the photograph is 1.65 cm in height, 1.1cm in width and 5.8mm in thickness. The diameter of the drill hole is 1.5mm. The poppy seed pods graduate in size from the front to the rear of the necklace. The two on either side of the central “heart” pendant are 1.62cm and 1.72cm in height. They are 6mm and 6.3mm in width. The drill hole diameters are 1.5mm. The smallest ones to the back are 1.45cm in height and 1.3cm. The widths are 1.62mm and 1.6mm. Again the drill holes are 1.5mm in diameter. The forms differ slightly in proportion, but are remarkably uniform. There is one carnelian poppy seed pods that is taller and more narrow in proportion than the others. It is the second one back from the center “heart” pendant on the left side of the photograph. It is 1.3cm in height and 6mm in thickness with a drill hole diameter of 1.5mm. The two carnelian cylinder beads are just over 8mm in length and 3.5mm and 3.6mm in width at the center of the bead. The end widths are 3.2mm with the drill hole diameters 1.5mm. The amulets are New Kingdom period, 18th dynasty, circa 1400 B. C. The ancient Egyptians believed that the soul resided in the heart while we tend to think that the head is the seat of our being. However we still use figures of speech such as “heartfelt” to indicate strong emotion and the symbol of love is the heart. Perhaps we still think in some way that the heart is the seat of emotion even if the scientific view is that the brain is the thinking organ. In any case, amulets to protect the heart were essentially protecting the soul of the persons wearing them. Beads and amulets may be worn for various reasons, but in ancient Egypt the fundamental and most compelling purpose of jewelry was to protect from inimical powers. The colors of the stones themselves were protective as they came from the earth and preserved within themselves the color of life-blood being represented by carnelian and red jasper. Beauty was important but it was in no way separate from the function of protection. Among such magical substances must also be included gold. Easily worked and never loosing its luster, it contains within itself all the fiery light and glory of the sun, the energy upon which all life on earth depends. The beads and beading tips and hook and eye clasp are all 20k gold.