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Tiny Ancient Onyx and Carnelian Barrel Beads with Gold Tube Beads


Swat Valley


Onyx, Carnelian, Agate, 22k gold


The necklace is 20 inches (53 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 9.5 gm.







A necklace of thirty-five black onyx cylinder beads, twelve carnelian cylinder beads and four agate cylinder beads of uncommon small size alternating with fifty 22k gold tube beads. The beading tips and clasp are also 22k gold. The onyx beads graduate in size very slightly from the front to the back of the necklace. The largest is 8.2 mm in length and 3 mm in width. The smallest is 5 mm in length and 2.8 mm in width. The carnelian beads are similar in size. The largest is 7.5 mm in length and 2.8 mm in width. The smallest is 3.5 mm in length and 2.3 mm in width. The four agate beads are slightly tapered and are 7 mm in length and 2.2 mm in width. The drill holes are 1mm in diameter. The gold tubes are 4 mm in length and 2.7 mm in width. The beads are said to have come from the Swat Valley in what is today northern Pakistan. Two thousand years ago this was on the northern end of the Kushan Empire that included most of north India and present day Pakistan. The small scale and precise form of the beads are remarkable. These compare with the Kushan era beads found in India from the first century C.E.