Ancient Egyptian Carnelian and Garnet Beads with Gold and Faience Pendant
Garnet, Carnelian, Glass, Faience, 20k gold
The necklace is 17 9/16 inches (44.5 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 20.3 gm.
A necklace of fifty four garnet beads alternating with fifty eight 20k gold tube beads with two carnelian bi cone barrel beads midway back on each side of the necklace; a faience pendant depicting the ancient Egyptian deity Bes hangs from the center of the necklace and is faced with two 20k gold granulated ring beads and a pair of round carnelian beads. Similarly, there is a pair of round carnelian beads at the very back of the necklace which ends in a pair of 20k gold beading tips and a hook and eye clasp. The stone beads are all ancient Egyptian and are said to be from the New Kingdom Period, Dynasty XXVIII as is the faience pendant. The pendant is 3.1 cm in height, and 3.1 cm in width from ear to ear. It is 7mm thick. The material is faience which is crude glass or frit. The ground up constituents are made into a paste, pressed into a mold and then fired to fuse it. Unlike most Egyptian faience which is white inside with a glass like copper glaze on the surface, this piece, as revealed by a slight chip out of the corner of the beard, is a darker blue throughout the material and not just on the surface. The face is wonderfully expressive with details such as the frown folds on the forehead and the peg like teeth showing below the upper lip. The ears have large perforations which has allowed us to take the liberty of providing Bes with gold earrings, tapered hoops with a grain attached at the bottom. Bes is a dwarf which was the protector of young children, hence the fierce expression, the anthropomorphic grimace of a lion. The amulet is said to date from the period 1075 B.C. to 600 B.C. The garnet beads are graduated in size from front to back. The largest is 5mm and the smallest is 3mm. The beads are spherical but with minor variations; many are flattened spheres resulting in the beads being shorter than they are wide. The drill holes are 2mm in diameter. The carnelian beads at the front are 5mm in width and 3.5mm in length. The drill holes are 1.5mm in diameter. The pair at the back of the necklace are 4mm in width and length with drill holes 1.5mm in diameter. There is one more detail to the necklace that is easily overlooked. In the left side of the photograph, (or the right side of the necklace when it is worn), six beads back from the carnelian bi-cone bead is a spherical glass bead, black glass with a white hemispherical white stripe. This imitation agate bead shows that by New Kingdom times the technological expertise to make almost indistinguishable glass simulates of stone beads was well established. The pair of bi cone barrel carnelian beads are 1.4 cm in length, 5 mm wide at the center and 3mm at the ends. The drill holes are just under 2mm in diameter. There is some slight chipping on the ends which is effectively masked by the gold tube beads. These beads are 4mm in length and 3mm in diameter. These tubes work like a ball and socket with the slightly irregular garnet beads allowing the necklace too hang more smoothly. The tubular gold beads, clasp and beading tips are 20k gold.