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Ancient Lapis Lazuli Bead Necklace with Iron Pyrite Inclusions


Swat Valley


Lapis Lazuli, Silver


The necklace is 28 3/4 inches (63.3 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 63.6 gm.







A necklace of one hundred three lapis lazuli beads. There are twenty-five longer barrel shaped beads alternating with groups of three shorter beads of rounded shape. The center bead is 1.7 cm in length, 1.07 cm in width at the widest point and7.2mm wide at the ends. The hole diameter is 3.9mm. The diameters of the round beads on either side are 9mm – 1cm. They are 6mm – 8 mm in length and the hole diameters are 2mm – 3mm. The smallest beads at the back of the necklace are 5mm in diameter and 3mm in length. The drill hole diameters are 1.5mm. The necklace is a mixture of various colors of blue and mixtures of white and blue with some of the beads having iron pyrite (“fools' gold”) inclusions. The random progression of the color variations is balanced by the structured composition of the alternating lengths as well as the graduation in size from the front to the back of the necklace. This necklace is an example of all the variations in color that can occur in lapis lazuli beads. The beading tips and hook and eye clasp are fine (999) silver. The beads are around two thousand years old and come from the Swat Valley region of northern Pakistan.