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Ancient Chalcedony Beads with Lapis Lazuli and Gold




Chalcedony, Lapis Lazuli, 20k gold


The necklace is 18 7/8 inches (48 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 31.4 gm.







A necklace of eleven tapered agate barrel beads alternating with twelve cylindrical tube beads of lapis lazuli. These are separated by twenty-two double layer granulated gold beads. A set of gold granulated beading tips and a hook and eye clasp complete the necklace. The gold is 20k. All the agate beads have the same banding pattern: bright orange carnelian ends and clear transparent and opaque white quartz in the center zone. These eleven beads are the same type found in the bead cloak of Queen Pu-abi, now in the British Museum. They are Sumerian, from about 2500 BC. Sir Charles L. Woolley in his excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia (1922-34) uncovered in shaft graves in the royal cemetery the jewelry of Queen Pu-abi (along with her body and the bodies and jewelry of many male and female attendants). The cylindrical tube beads of lapis lazuli range in size from 1 cm to 1.3 cm in length and 3.5 mm to 5 mm in diameter. The hole diameters are 2.4 mm. The large drill holes and the straight sided form of the cylinders makes it very likely that these are also from the same time period, circa 2500 BC. The double layers granulated ring beads are of three sizes: 5 mm (ten), 4.1 mm (eight), and 3.8 mm (eight). The beading tips are also granulated with a circlet of flattened wire attached to the larger ring to form an attachment loop for the hook and eye clasp. The clasp is flattened on the end and rolled up to form a lip, the space behind the lip filled with a line of five very small grains.