Ancient Agate, Lapis, and Silver Necklace with Lion Head Lapis Pendant
Lapis Lazuli, Agate, Silver
The necklace is 25 inches (63.5 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 24.5 gm.
A necklace of fifty-five lapis lazuli beads, twenty-six small agate barrel beads, twenty-seven granulated silver beads, and a carved lapis lazuli bead strung pendant with an ancient garnet bead used as the stop. The beading tips and hook and eye clasp are also fine silver. The agate barrel beads are each faced with a lapis lazuli barrel bead and these groups of three are each separated by a silver ring bead. At the apex of the necklace the two strands feed into a lapis disc and then a three layered granulated silver bead below which hangs the carved lapis bead. The pendant bead is 1.3 cm in height and is roughly a rectangular solid but wider at one end. At the widest, it is 1.05 cm, at the narrow end is is 7mm. It is about 1cm thick. The diameter of the drill hole is about 2.5mm. The form is ambiguous, but one interpretation is that it is the head of a lion. If that is the case, then the two bulges at the top are the eyes, the grooved protuberance below the garnet bead is the chin (and beard?) and the notched mass above the garnet bead is the snout and nose. This may not be correct as the side view seen below seems to convey another image. Perhaps it was meant to be read as two different things depending on which way it was held and viewed. Although we cannot decipher the precise meaning of the bead, we can still appreciate it as a talisman and amulet. The barrel beads are all around 5mm in width and their lengths vary from 1.3 cm to 5mm. The drill holes are from 1mm – 2mm in diameter.