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Ancient Double Stranded Lapis Necklace with Double Drilled Pendants


Swat Valley


Lapis Lazuli, Silver


The necklace is 18 inches (45.6 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 59 gm.







A necklace of ninety-two lapis lazuli beads, seventeen of which are double drilled. There are fifteen double drilled pendant beads of elongated form at the enter of the necklace. These bulge at the center and taper to points at the bottom. They graduate in size from the middle to the back on either side. The center bead is 3 cm in height, 8 cm in width, and 1.05 cm in thickness at the center. The drill holes are 8.5 mm apart and have diameters of 2 mm. The smallest is 1.65 cm in height, 5.3 mm in width and 6.5 mm in thickness. There are very faint remnants of the horizontal grooves that are typical at the top and bottom ends of these pendant beads; they have been mostly worn off through use. They are strung on a double strand of barrel beads. The barrel beads are 1.1 cm -1.3 cm in length, 5 mm in width with drill holes 2mm in diameter. They graduate slightly to lengths of 6 mm, and widths of 4 mm. There is a pair of rectangular double drilled pieces that are used as spacers for the two strands on either side of the necklace. They are 2 cm wide and 1.5 cm in length with a thickness of 8 mm. The diameters of the drill holes are 2.5 mm. One piece has diagonal grooves on one side extending towards the center from each corner. The other is not grooved. There have been a number of suggestions as to what these forms represent. We favor the idea that these are representations of silk worms. There are jade versions of larval forms found in tombs in China from the Warring States Period. We think that these may be the prototypes for these lapis lazuli beads. The time period is about the same roughly 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. These beads come from the Swat Valley in what is now northern Pakistan.