A Roman Carnelian Faceted Bead Necklace, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
The most favorable pieces of carnelian are a deep red to red-orange hue, and this fine bead necklace is a splendid example of type. It is composed of thirty-four (34) fiery carnelian faceted beads that graduate in size.
Carnelian stones, which were immensely popular throughout Greco-Roman antiquity, originated from deposits in the Arabian Peninsula and India. Like the Egyptians and the Greeks, the Romans believed that carnelian was endowed with magical powers; it caused the blood to circulate smoothly throughout the body, made the skin healthy and youthful and was capable of warding off evil. Once considered strictly the property of the noble class, Romans of high social status were often buried with this gemstone. Ancient warriors wore carnelian for courage and physical power to conquer their enemies. Since wearing carnelian also makes one feel peaceful and slow to anger, it was often worn by orators to achieve serenity before and during speeches. It is theorized that the color orange is the harmonious balance of passionate, creative red and bright, cheerful yellow, making it particularly soothing to wear.
Dimensions: String length: 45 cm (18 inches)
Condition: Recently restrung with 14K gold clasp, necklace and individual beads are intact and in excellent condition overall.
Provenance: Private Californian collection, acquired in the mid 1960's and then by descent to present owner.
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