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Ancient Triangular Cross Section Carnelian Beads with Lapis and Gold




Carnelian, Lapis Lazuli, 24k gold


The necklace is 22 7/16 inches (57 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 20.3 gm.







A necklace of forty-four carnelian beads alternating with forty-three lapis lazuli beads, spaced with granulated ring beads of 24k gold. Gold beading tips and a hook and eye clasp complete the necklace. The carnelian beads are of an unusual form. Triangular in cross section, with tapered ends they give the appearance of being barrel beads until the flat sides reflect the light. They range in length from 7.5 mm to 5.6 mm and in width from 4.3 mm (end width 3.4 mm) to 3.5 mm wide at the center (end width 2.9 mm). The drill hole diameters are 1 mm. The color is deep and rich; there is whitening on some of the beads that occurs when exposed to alkaline soil for prolonged periods. The carnelian beads are probably from about two thousand years ago. The smaller lapis lazuli beads are various shapes: the center bead is 1.5 cm in length, 7 mm in width at the center, 3.5 mm wide at the ends and 4 mm in thickness. The drill hole diameter is 1.8 mm. The shorter beads range in length from 4.1 mm to 2 mm. They range in width from 4 mm to 3.5 mm. Most of the beads are short barrels, round or flattened spheres, but there are cornerless cube and short bicone shapes as well. The drill holes are typically around 2 mm. The gold ring beads are made of eight granules each and graduate in size from 4.2 mm to 3 mm. The beading tips are cylinders with one open end and the other end drilled so that the string can pass inside. The knots are hidden inside the cups. A stirrup shaped wire attaches to the sides to allow attachment of the hook and eye clasp.