Ancient Egyptian Green Jasper Scarab and Ancient Carnelian, Turquoise, and Lapis with Gold
Carnelian, Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise, Green Jasper, 20k gold
The necklace is 20 1/4 inches (51.5 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 22.5 gm.
A necklace of eighteen carnelian tubular beads, with twenty lapis lazuli beads and thirty-six turquoise disc beads. Each lapis lazuli bead is faced with a pair of 20k gold cylinder beads, forty in all. Each of the carnelian tube beads is faced with a pair of turquoise beads. A green jasper scarab beetle is suspended in a gold mount from the center of the necklace. The scarab is large: 2 cm in length, 1.55 cm in width and 1 cm in thickness. The carving is three dimensional and detailed. The legs are deeply grooved and shaped, the head is domed and the mouth parts are notched and grooved. The scarab is set in a gold mount that covers the back and hides some chipping that occurred around the thin base upon which the scarab sits. A gold wire with a boss on the bottom end provides the means of suspension. The wire passes through a ring that has been affixed to the bezel at the bottom, through the drill hole of the stone scarab, and through a similar ring attached to the bezel at the top. A gold collar sits above the ring where the wire splits into two sections that are coiled in opposite directions to form the suspension loop. The scarab is said to be from the New Kingdom, from about the time of Tutankhamun. The ancient Egyptians favored regular patterns of alternating forms and colors, and arrangements of beads like in the present necklace can be found in every period. The scarab beetle was employed as an amulet to protect the wearer from mysterious hostile forces. 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 luster, 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 scarab, they were not produced in ancient Egypt, but rather are from the Near East. 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.