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Ancient
Home  >   Collectible Beads   >  Other Collectible   >   Ancient "Etched" Carnelian & Agate Strand 18" #7 c. 250 BC-650 AD
Ancient

Ancient "Etched" Carnelian & Agate Strand 18" #7 c. 250 BC-650 AD

#SHA19

Considered a precious stone in the ancient Middle East, carnelian was prized for its natural beauty, but also often decorated by a method commonly known as "etching". This term is a misnomer because the process does not involve acid or engraving. Instead, a solution of alkali mixed with plant juices and other ingredients was painted onto the bead in the desired designs before the bead was fired. A chemical reaction left a permanent white, grey, or black deposit on the stone depending on the specific solution used. The process was developed around 2500 BC for making copies of even rarer naturally patterned beads.

This strand features a nice variety of shapes and classic patterns in good condition. The slightly conical bead on the right (second from the pendant) is quite unusual, as is the disc bead drilled through the short dimension. Four small beads at the back of the strand appear to be naturally banded black and white agate, the original inspiration for many "etched" and decorated beads. Such beads were produced in North India as early as 400 BC and have been found in Parthian and Sassanian sites in Iran as late as 642 AD. In ancient times and pre-industrial cultures, small beads were often considered more valuable than large ones because they were more difficult to make with simple tools.

The beads on this strand range from 15 mm for the flat disc bead at the bottom, to 4 x 5 mm for the smallest beads. These, purchased from an Afghan dealer in the early 1990s, have been inspected and authenticated by two top US bead researchers. Released from a private collection, beads of this quality are rarely available on the market today.

Price: $1,700.00 (strand) Qty: Add to Cart



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