Large Ancient Garnet Beads Alternating with Complex Silver Cage Beads
The necklace is 19 inches (48.5 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 111.1 gm.
A necklace of twenty-three ancient garnet beads alternating with granulated silver beads composed of forty-four silver granules fused together in five layers to form a rectangular solid with two openings in each face. The garnet beads are large and show much surface wear. The arrangement alternates geometric shapes with spherical shaped beads separated by the granulated silver beads. The clasp and beading tips are also fine (999) silver. The large center bead is 2.15 cm in length, 1.9 cm in width and has a drill hole diameter of 3 mm. The form is six sided with the center of the bead having square facets that encircle the bead and six triangular facets at each end. The round beads to either side are actually slightly oblate having a length of 9.5 mm and a width of 1.12 cm. The beads decrease in size towards the back of the necklace. The smallest round bead is 1 cm in width and 8 mm in length. There are some variations in the geometric shaped beads. There is a rectangular solid with the corners ground down to make a twelve sided bead. This bead is 1.2 cm in length, and 9.2 mm in width with a drill hole diameter of 2 mm. These beads are very old, probably at least two thousand years old and possible older since a drill hole of 3 mm is usually found in Bronze Age beads from four thousand years ago. Garnet is a very hard and brittle stone, difficult to drill and subject to pitting caused by impact fractures. These beads exhibit their age in the many small pits caused by banging onto other hard stone beads such as agates. Each of these pits reflects a gleam of light which gives a sparkly appearance. Garnets of this size do not transmit much light through their interiors and yet the beads have a subtle red tinge; they do not seem to be completely black and in strong sunlight the effect is heightened. The necklace contrasts the dark garnet beads with the bright pure silver used in the granulation technique used to make the complex structure of the silver beads. The contrasts employed in the design gives the ancient beads a strong presence.