Four Thousand Year Old Agate Beads with Gold Caps and Lapis Lazuli
Agate, Lapis Lazuli, 20k gold
The necklace is 20 7/8 inches (53 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 106.5 gm.
A massive necklace of nine flat elliptical shaped agate beads from the Bronze Age with gold end caps and spaced with twenty lapis lazuli beads. There are eight large granulated gold beads between each lapis bead. The gold caps for the central bead are decorated with borders of flattened wire, a row of grains, and a border of twisted gold wire. The caps are further ornamented with two bezels surrounded by grains and set with small lapis lazuli cabochons. Two roundels set with lapis stones and bordered with a twisted wire hide the beading tips. Each has a flattened wire circlet set a ninety degrees at the edge with which to attach the tapered “S” hook. The hook is also decorated with a circlet of wire and two of grains. The central bead is 2.5 cm at the widest point and 8mm thick. It is 5.55 cm from end to end including the caps. The next set of beads is 2.1 cm and 2.3 cm in width. They are 6 mm and 7.5mm in thickness. The smaller thicker bead is 3.25 cm in length with the caps, and the thinner is 3.5 cm in length. This set of caps is decorated with a collar and a twisted wire border. The first of second pair of beads is 2.2 cm in width, 6mm thick and 4.1 cm in length. The second is 2 cm wide, 5.5mm thick and 3.65 cm in length with the caps. This set is decorated at the ends with two borders of flattened wire. The third pair are 2.02 cm in width, 6.2 mm thick and 3 cm in length-- 1.7cm wide, 7.25 mm thick and 2.57 cm in length. The caps on this set are decorated with a border of a single flattened wire at the ends. The last pair are 1.6 cm wide, 8mm thick and 2.85 cm in length – 1.5 cm wide, 6.6 mm thick and 2.1 cm in length. As with the previous pair, the caps are decorated with a border of a single flattened wire. The roundels at the back are 1.4 cm in diameter with a tube on the back acting as the receiver for the cord on which the beads are strung. The lapis lazuli beads are rounded short cylinders of 8 mm diameter. The lengths vary from 7.5mm to 4mm. There is a small 4mm diameter lapis bead on either side of the central bead. A second set of small beads is at the back of the necklace. The drill hole diameters are 2.3 mm for the large beads and 2 mm for the small beads. There are eight large gold beads made of five layers of forty grains, the largest in the center circle of eight grains and each layer decreasing in size. This makes a spherical bead. There are additional ring spacers made of grains facing the small lapis beads to either side of the central bead as well as double ring spacers at the back of the necklace. The agates are all Bronze Age. The large holes are diagnostic for an age of about four thousand years ago. The agate beads are predominately white and clear quartz with some brown color in some of the beads. They show some wear from age and the center bead shows signs of regrinding of the surface. There is some minor edge chipping on three of the beads. Two of the beads show whitening from being buried in alkaline soil for extended periods of time. The gold end caps visually unite the elements and the uniform dark blue of the lapis sets off the white of the agates. The elaborate decoration of the end caps which increases as one moves towards the central bead plays off against the large granulated round beads. Finally, the bezel set lapis stones in the central caps and in the roundels at the back complete the detailed decoration.