A Persian Garnet and Gold Pendant Necklace, ca. 4th - 1st century BCE
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This superb necklace features a total of fourty-two untreated, hand-polished garnets that beautifully contrast with five high-karat gold stylized pendants with suspension loops made from gold wire. The design is enhanced by 14K gold antique spacer beads, the necklace has been restrung with a solid gold clasp.
For a related example see: Schmuckmusesum, Pforzheim "Jewelry from Persia, the collection of Patti Birch" (1974) #35.
Background: Throughout history, garnets have held a place in ritual symbolism. It is said that garnet was one of the twelve stones in Aaron's breastplate, representing the tribe of Judah, and that King Solomon wore garnet adornments when he went into battle. Noah chose a garnet to hang in the Ark, and it illuminated his way through the floods. It was perhaps this Biblical reference that made garnet the stone worn by travelers and soldiers to promise them a safe return home. But even before Biblical times, garnets were worn and treasured. Garnet necklaces have been found in graves in Czechoslovakia dating back to the Bronze Age. Garnet stones have been buried with warriors and nobles in Ancient Egypt (3100 BCE), Sumeria (2100 BCE) and Sweden (2000 BCE). Plentiful throughout the world, and easily found just beneath the earth's crust, garnets were worn as jewelry among the Aztecs and Mayans, Native Americans, aboriginal Australians, and Asians. Garnets are also believed to have the power to staunch blood, to offer protection and healing from poisons and to purify the liver. Since ancient times, people have believed that garnets can help spark mental acuity and clarity, lighten the mood and bring peace and solace to the grieving. Over the years, garnets have acquired the meaning of fidelity, loyalty and love.
Dimensions: Length: 16 inches (40.6 cm)
Condition: Small losses to the gold pendants that do not detract, otherwise all beads intact and in excellent condition overall. The necklace has been restrung with 18K gold clasp.
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired from the trade in the 1980s.