Ancient Double Stranded Turquoise Beads with Shell Beads and Carved Shell Pendant
Turquoise, Shell, Pearl, Silver
The necklace is 20 inches (51 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 26.4 gm.
A double strand of turquoise disc beads with a pendant made from shell. There are fourteen single drilled shell beads and six double drilled. There are eight round shell beads, two tabular shell beads and two tooth-like pendant beads. Opposite those pendants are two small tabular beads, one of which is of mother of pearl. The central pendant is 3.6 cm in width, 3.35 cm in height and 6.5 mm in thickness. The shell is slightly convex being 4.5 mm in actual thickness at the top and 3 mm in thickness at the bottom. The flat double drilled beads are 7 mm in length,1 cm in height, and 3 mm in thickness. The round beads are 6 mm in diameter. The tabular beads at the back are 8.4 mm in length, 9 mm in width and 3 mm in thickness. The small tooth pendants are also made from pieces of shell that 3mm in thickness and drilled through so that this becomes their length, the width being 6 mm and the height is 1 cm. The turquoise disc beads are 2 mm in length and 3.5 mm in diameter. All the beads except the large pendant are over two thousand years old. The double drilled beads and the small tooth pendants are Bronze Age and this dates to 2,000 B.C.E. making them four thousand years old. The turquoise beads are probably from this period as well. The round beads may well be Bronze Age but since round beads were made in all periods, there is nothing distinctive to use for dating purposes. We must rely on the context, and these beads did all come from the same source. The shell pendant at the center is certainly very old but probably not as old as the other beads. This design is not found with Bronze Age beads and is consistent with medieval Islamic designs. The type of shell used is found in headpieces from Afghanistan that are said to be Kazak. These old shell beads are ovals and square shapes without the scrolled edges found in this pendant. They all have very smooth worn surfaces that are the result of having been used and worn for generations.