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Name:

Four Strand Necklace of Ancient Etched Carnelian Beads and Turquoise


Collection:

Carnelian


Material:

Carnelian, Turquoise, 20k gold


Size:

The necklace is 24 1/8 inches (61.3 cm) in length. The necklace weighs 44.8 gm.


Price:

$7,500.00


 

 

Description

 

A necklace of two hundred sixty-four etched carnelian beads spaced with turquoise disc beads and organized into four strands which are fed into two large round gold beads framing a rhomboid shaped tabular bead of carnelian and quartz. Gold beading tips and a hook and eye clasp complete the necklace. The rhomboid carnelian bead is 2.4 cm in length, 1.8 cm in width at the widest point and 4.4 mm in thickness at the middle. The ends are 4.8 mm in width and the drill hole is 2 mm in diameter. There is some minor chipping along one of the thin outer edges. The etched carnelian beads are round tabular beads with white circles outlining their two faces, rectangular tabular beads with white lines outlining their rectangular faces and oval shapes, similarly decorated. The beads are 5 mm in length. The rectangles are 3.0 mm 3.8 mm in width, the ovals are similar in size. They are 2.5 mm to 3.0 mm in thickness. The turquoise discs are 3 mm in diameter and 1 mm in length. The drill holes of all the small beads are 1 mm or slightly less. The gold spheres are 8.2 mm in diameter. The spheres in the beading tips are 7.2 mm in diameter. The 20k gold is alloyed with silver. The gold has been patinated and given a darker hue. The center bead is a Bronze age bead from 2,000 BC from what is now present day Afghanistan. The etched carnelian beads in this necklace are difficult to date and probably date from late in the history of their production. The etching of agate and carnelian beads is accomplished by painting onto the surface of the bead as alkali ( potash, white lead, and washing soda have all been reportedly used), and then subsequently firing the bead. This permanently whitens the area of the bead covered with the alkali. The whitening is not merely a glazing of the surface. The surface is often unaffected by this process; the whitening actually occurs beneath the surface and extends downward into the stone. The whitened areas may be raised on some specimen; in a few cases, the designs are sunken into the stone, the solution having acted like a flux as it was absorbed into the surface and melted the structure of the agate or carnelian. The etching of agate and carnelian beads is accomplished by painting onto the surface of the bead as alkali (potash, white lead, and washing soda have all been reportedly used), and then subsequently firing the bead. This permanently whitens the area of the bead covered with the alkali. The whitening is not merely a glazing of the surface. The surface is often unaffected by this process; the whitening actually occurs beneath the surface and extends downward into the stone. The whitened areas may be raised on some specimen; in a few cases, the designs are sunken into the stone, the solution having acted like a flux as it was absorbed into the surface and melted the structure of the agate or carnelian. Etched beads have been manufactured since very early times. Beck attributed the specimens known to him to three main periods: Early (before 2000 BC), Middle (300 BC to 200 AD), and Late (600 to 1000 AD). Francis has expanded and revised this dating as follows: Early (2700 BC to 1800 BC), Middle (550 BC to 200 AD), and Late (224 to 642 AD). Etched beads from the earliest period have been found mainly at Mesopotamian and Indus civilization sites. The centers of their manufacture discovered so far are the Indus civilization sites of Lothal and Chanhu Daro. Middle period etched beads were found mainly at Indian subcontinent sites. Francis makes a strong case that the centers of manufacture of Late period etched beads was Iran and dates them to Sassanian times (224 to 642 AD).