An Achaemenid Carnelian and Banded Agate Bead Necklace, ca. 550 - 332 BCE
Comprising thirty-two globular and polygonal carnelian beads, graduated in size, and accompanied by a very fine pentagonal bead with a dizzying array of pale caramel, cream, tan, and beige coloration, and shaped to accentuate the natural agate banding of the stone.
In the Achaemenid period, stone beads were time consuming to make, expensive and available only to the wealthy. They were considered so attractive that craftsmen were eventually inspired to create imitation agate beads from glass as a less expensive fashionable alternative.
Comparanda: Liu, Robert ; A Universal Aesthetic. Collectable Beads (Vista, 1995)
Dubin, Lois Sherr ; The History of Beads (New York, 1987)
Condition: showing minor signs of ancient wear, all beads are intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 16 inches (40.5 cm)
Provenance: British archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley (1880 –1960), best known for his excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia, then by descent to his daughter, acquired by Michael C. Carlos museum through Astarte Gallery, London, 1996, deaccessioned and sold through Christie's, December 7, 2006, Sale 1735, Lot 216.
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