A fine Persian Agate and Gold Pendant, ca. 550 - 330 BCE
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comprising two finely carved agate beads smoothed on both sides and drilled for suspension; the lower of barrel-shaped form, surmounted by a fiery orange conical bead joined by a fine high karat gold wire to form a superb pendant. No doubt this pendant had great value as an exquisite and luxurious object illustrating the refinement and genius of the ancient artisan. The process of extraction, transportation, and craftsmanship of these beautiful hard stones required hours of labor, and such jewelry was therefore reserved for social elites such as the royal family and high-ranking officials. 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.
For a related example see Dublin, L "A History of Beads" (1987) Timeline of Bead History p112 #315. Liu, Robert, A Universal Aesthetic. Collectible Beads (Vista, 1995).
Dimensions: Height: 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). Strung on a modern 14K gold chain for easy wear.
Condition: The pendant is intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Ex. Anavian family Collection acquired over 30 years ago by David and Henry Anavian in Iran, prior to the Shah's departure.