Ancient Carnelian Barrel Beads with Lapis Lazuli and Silver
Carnelian, Lapis Lazuli, Silver
The necklace is 28 3/8 inches (72.5 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 54.8 gm.
A necklace of fifteen carnelian beads, nine of which are long tapered beads and six of which are shorter barrel shaped carnelian tubes. There are fifty lapis beads in the necklace which graduate in size towards the back of the necklace. These are slightly irregular short cylinders that have been rounded on the edges. There are groups of three lapis beads between each of the long carnelian beads. Each of the stone beads is separated by a granulated silver bead. Forty-six are star shaped arrangements of ten grains, sixteen are composed of five grains. The beading tips and hook and eye clasp are also fine (999) silver. The long carnelian tubes at the front of the necklace are of the following dimensions: the center bead is 3.18 cm in length, 9mm in width at the center, 5mm wide at the ends and has a drill hole of 1.5mm. The two darker carnelian beads to either side have lengths of 2.45 cm and 2.7 cm. The longer is 8mm in width at the center and 5mm in width at the ends. The shorter is 7.3mm in width at the center and 5mm in width at the ends. The drill hole diameters are 1.5mm. Of the next set of two, the longer (pictured above) is 4 cm in length, 7mm in width at the center, and 4mm in width at the ends. The drill hole diameter is 1.5mm. Its opposite in the necklace is 3.33 cm in length, 7.5 mm in width at the center and 4.5 mm in width at the ends. The drill hole diameter is 2.75 mm. The ends are slightly angled from wear. The larger drill hole and the end wear indicate that this is a bead from an earlier period. It is perhaps one thousand years older that the other carnelians which are themselves about two thousand years old. The third group back from the center share the same profile, not tapering as much until at the end they round off more sharply giving them a rounded shoulder. The longer is 3.06 cm in length, 6.6mm in width at the center, and 3mm in width at the ends. The drill hole is 1.5 mm. The shorter of the two is 2.5 cm in length, 6.5mm in width at the center and 3.8mm in width at the ends. The drill hole diameter is 1.5mm. Of the fourth pair of carnelian beads, the longer is 2.75 cm in length, 6.5 mm in width at the center, and 4.9mm in width at the ends. The drill hole diameter is 1.5mm. Its opposite is 2.12 cm in length, 7.5mm in width at the center and 5mm in width at the ends. The drill hole diameter is 1.5mm. The six small carnelian beads are all about 1.2 cm in length and 5mm in width. They have drill hole diameters of 1.5mm. The lapis beads are around 7mm in width at the front of the necklace and vary in length from 4mm to 7.5 mm. They graduate in size to the back of the necklace where they are 5.5mm in width and 4mm – 5mm in length. The drill holes are also 1.5mm in diameter. The beads (with the exception noted above) are abut two thousand years old. They come from the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan. The necklace is deigned to showcase the beauty of the long carnelian tube beads. The blue lapis contrasts with the orange carnelian. The slightly irregular sizes of the lapis allow subtle adjustments in the lengths between the carnelian beads which are not uniform in size allowing the impression of symmetry to be maintained. The silver beads also impart a visual accent to the structure and emphasize the regularity of three lapis beads between each carnelian bead. There are also three colors in the necklace, another instance of the use of three in the compositional structure.