Egyptian Hardstone Necklace with Amulets

£ 650.00

A restrung necklace of fourteen carnelian and three blue amulet beads, arranged on two strings of blue composition beads. In addition, there is a larger red bead before and after each amulet. The three blue beads take the delicate form of a poppy or thistle, with the central flower slightly smaller than the two flanking it. The carnelian amulets are pleasingly uniform in both colour and size: some take a flat form, while others are rounded and feature an incised line around the tip.

Date: 1550 - 1070 BC
Period: New Kingdom Period
Provenance: Acquired on the French art market, early 20th century, thence by descent.
Condition: Very fine condition; restrung with modern clasp.


SKU: AH-90 Category: Tag:

An integral part of Ancient Egyptian culture, amulets were considered to possess protective and empowering properties for the benefit of their wearer. They held different meanings, depending on their type or form. Small amulets depicting gods and goddesses seem to have induced the protective powers of the deity. On the other hand, small representations of anatomical features or creatures suggest that the wearer required protection over a specific body part, or that he/she desired the skills of a particular animal.

Poppy or thistle amulets were representative of healing and the removal of pain. Thistles were common all over Egypt, but especially around the Nile. It is thought that they were peeled and boiled before consumption, with the thistle used in some parts of the world as a herbal treatment for hepatic disorders. If, on the other hand, the amulet is intended to represent a poppy, the piece retains symbolic significance. Indeed, there is evidence for the extraction of morphine from poppies in the ancient world.

To find out more about the use of carnelian in Ancient Egyptian culture please see our relevant blog post: The Significance of Carnelian in Ancient Egyptian Culture.

Weight 33.0 g
Dimensions L 43.00 cm


Semi-Precious Stones


Reference: See The Baron Empain collection, Christies, 14 March 2011, Lot 44, for similar pieces.