Western Asiatic Gold and Carnelian Bead Necklace


A restrung Western Asiatic necklace consisting of carnelian and gold beads. The necklace consists of varying shaped beads, graduating in size, predominantly made of flattened rhomboid beads which are pierced vertically for suspension. Smooth, rounded carnelian beads intercept these, increasing in size. They are then replaced with gold, tubular spacer beads with granulation decoration. At the centre of the necklace is a large, smooth ovoid bead made from banded carnelian; the gemstone’s natural varying hues on display. The necklace is finished with a gold plated clasp.

Measurements given are for an open necklace length. Choker-style necklace when clasp is closed.

Date: 1st Millenium BC - 1st Millenium AD
Condition: Excellent condition.

In stock

SKU: AH-1019 Category: Tag:

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. Fine jewellery was used as a status symbol in ancient cultures, 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 40.7 g
Dimensions W 44.5 cm



Semi-Precious Stones

Reference: For Similar: Christie’s Auction House, London, Auction 5488, Antiquities, 7th October 2010, lot 188

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