A Roman Amethyst and Carnelian Bead Necklace, ca. 1st - 2nd century CE
Carnelian beads were immensely popular throughout Greco-Roman antiquity, for it was believed that carnelian was endowed with magical powers; causing the blood to circulate smoothly throughout the body, make the skin healthy and youthful and ward off evil. Once considered strictly the property of the noble class, Romans of high social status were often buried with this gemstone. 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.
The ancients ascribed many wonderful and therapeutic properties to amethyst: it cleansed the body of impurities, kept the mind clear and improved memory, and ensured the wearer was immune from infection and contagious diseases. The name of this exquisite purple quartz crystal comes from the Greek word "amethystos" which literally translates as “remedy against drunkenness”. The Greeks and Romans believed this stone would keep the wearer sober no matter how much wine was consumed. While we can't guarantee to wear this necklace will keep you sober, with the combined amethyst and carnelian, there's always a chance it might make you a happy, alert drunk!
Condition: Each bead is a little irregular, as is to be expected from the hand-polishing process used in their fabrication. There is expected signs of wear to a small few of the beads with minor chips that is not excessive and does not detract. Overall the beads are intact and in very good condition. The necklace has been restrung for wearing with a modern gold closure.
Dimensions: Overall length: 19.5 inches (49.5 cm)
Provenance: Private Californian collection, acquired in the mid-1960s and then by descent to present owner.
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