Egyptian Carnelian Amulets and Ancient Lapis and Turquoise Beads with Gold
Carnelian, Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise, 20k gold
The necklace is 18 ½ inches (47 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 20 gm.
A necklace of gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise and carnelian beads, including fourteen carnelian poppy seed pod pendant beads. The largest of these is 1.7cm in height and 7 mm in width. The smallest carnelian poppy is 1.25cm in height and 6.3 mm in width. The drill hole diameters are 2mm. There is some slight damage to the bottom of the pendant at the back of the necklace and there is some very slight chipping on the bases of two other pendants on very close examination. Each of these carnelian pendant beads are faced with a pair of granulated gold ring beads. There are thirty-eight round lapis lazuli beads in the necklace. These graduate in size from 4.5mm to 4mm and the drill hole diameter is 1.5mm. Each of these lapis beads is faced with two 3mm turquoise disc beads. Two of these modules alternate with the carnelian poppy beads, with a 3mm gold tube bead separating the modules. At the back of the necklace, there are four tabular carnelian beads, 4mm in diameter, that occupy the place of the poppy seed pods in the design motif. The poppy seed pods have some variation in the basic form, some more rounded and some more club-shaped (like a bowling pin). In ancient times, sets would have matched perfectly; these are remnants of several different sets. Such sets may have been used as the bottom row in large broad collars. These are said to be from the Middle Kingdom, 2100-1800 B.C. 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, the fresh green of up sprouting vegetation, the blue of life-giving water, and the blue of the sacred sky realms. One was adorned with a celebration of all the nurturing powers of the earth. Among such magical substances must also be included gold. Easily worked and never loosing its lustre, it contains within itself all the fiery light and glory of the sun. The use of the four colors, red-orange carnelian, deep blue lapis lazuli, blue green turquoise and high carat gold, and the alternating bands of color give this necklace its Egyptian feeling. The stone beads of the necklace are over two thousand years years old, but unlike the carnelian poppy seed pods, they were not produced in ancient Egypt, but rather are from what is now northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. The beads are contemporaneous with the scarab, and beads very similar to these were used in Egypt at that time. All the lapis lazuli used in ancient Egypt was imported from present day Afghanistan. Carnelian beads made by the Sumerians have also been found in ancient Egyptian burials, confirming that trade in these materials was carried on in ancient times. The ancient Egyptians had the one resource that made importing high quality semiprecious gems for their ornaments certain and that was the gold of the western desert.