Greek Gold Carnelian Bead Necklace


A restrung bead necklace of oval and tabular biconical carnelian, drawn glass collared shapes, and gold beads in between.

Date: 1st Millenium BC
Provenance: From an important Mayfair collection; formed by the family in the 1970s.
Condition: Excellent condition.


SKU: FP-0018 Category:

Carnelian is a translucent variant of chalcedony, and ranges in colour from light orange to dark brown. It is slightly softer than the likes of sard, and so is ideal for carving. The colour of stones was important in antiquity, with some varieties considered, through sympathetic magic, to increase fertility, ease childbirth, and provide relief and protection from afflictions (such as scorpion bites, stomach ailments, and eye disease). Written sources list a host of powers attributed to stones, for instance protection against the evil eye, the guarantee of safe travel, a better understanding of rhetoric, and even victory in court. In ancient Greece and Rome, carnelian in particular was believed to enhance passion, love, and desire. Jewellery was a status symbol in ancient Greece and Rome, and to possess a complete a set of beads in such good condition is truly a rarity.

To discover more about gemstones in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: The History and Mythology of Jewellery in Antiquity.

Weight 35.00000000 g
Dimensions W 76 cm



Semi-Precious Stones