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Ancient Carnelian and Lapis Barrel Beads Encircled with Gold Bands


Swat Valley


Carnelian, Lapis Lazuli, 20k gold


The necklace is 23 1/8 inches (59cm) in length. The necklace weighs 213.5 gm.







A necklace of fifteen long cylindrical lapis lazuli beads and fourteen somewhat shorter carnelian cylindrical beads alternating, all of which have a band of 20k gold encircling the bead at the center. The thin bands of gold cover about a third of the length at the middle. The beads graduate in size from the front to the back. The lapis bead at the center is 2.33 cm in length, 4 mm in width and has a drill hole diameter of 1.8mm. The gold band is 5.5mm wide. The smallest lapis lazuli bead at the back is 1.5cm in length and 3.5mm in width. The drill hole diameter is 2mm.The width of the gold band is 3.5mm. The carnelian beads at the front of the necklace are 1.28cm in length, 3.5mm in width and have drill hole diameter of 1.3mm. The size remains uniform until the vary back of the necklace where the last two beads on either side are smaller, 7mm-8mm, in length. In ancient Mesopotamia, agate beads were often capped with gold or set into gold mounts. In this necklace, instead of caps, the beads have been outfitted with belts. In the ancient Near East, the combination of carnelian, lapis lazuli, and gold was very prevalent. Lapis lazuli was highly prized and came by way of trade from what is now Afghanistan.