Ancient Agate and Lapis Lazuli Barrel Beads with Agate Drop Pendant
Agate, Lapis Lazuli, Silver
The necklace is 20 ½ inches (52.2 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 45.5 gm.
A necklace of ten agate barrel beads with an eleventh agate bead pendant in the center alternating with groups of three lapis lazuli beads, the center bead being a long bead and two smaller beads facing it. In addition to the thirty-six lapis beads there are a pair of smaller lapis beads facing the center pendant. This pair of small lapis beads is each faced with granulated ring beads of Fine (999) silver and there are an additional twenty granulated ring beads facing the agate barrel beads. The clasp and beading tips are also Fine silver. The center pendant bead is 2.22 cm in height, 8.5 mm in width at the widest point and has a drill hole diameter of 1.5 mm. The agate barrel beads are all about 1.7 cm in length and 9 mm thick at the center and 6 mm wide at the ends. A smaller pair at the back of the necklace is 1.4 cm in length and 6.4 mm in width. The drill hole diameters are 1.5 mm - 2 mm. The longer lapis lazuli beads are 1.75 cm – 1.5 cm in length and 7.5 mm – 6.8 mm in width. The smaller facing beads are 3 mm – 4.5 mm in length and 7.5 mm – 6.8 mm in width. The drill hole diameters are 2 mm. There is some variation in the shapes of the longer lapis beads; most are cylindrical but a few are four sided. The fourth agate bead back on each side has some damage: the black agate barrel has some chipping around the drill hole and the brown agate barrel has about 3 mm missing from one end. The five agates to the front of the necklace all have a rounded barrel shape that gives them a plump aspect; the six agates to the back have a more modest taper. The beads are two thousand years old from the Swat Valley of northern Pakistan. They are from the Buddhist culture that extended from north India all the way northwards into the Himalayan Mountains to Tibet.