Roman-era Faceted Carnelian Beads

This 27-inch necklace was created using ancient beads strung with segments of handmade 22K gold chain. Carnelian is a variety of chalcedony; iron oxides give it its color. The name “carnelian” comes from the Latin word carne, which means flesh. Red symbolizes blood in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and therefore energy and life. Carnelian beads and amulets were popular dating from Predynastic Egypt through the Roman era.

The faceted carnelian beads in this necklace became popular during the Roman era. 22K bead caps have been used to protect the holes drilled in the center of the beads from abrasion. The handmade 22K chain is an ancient style, often referred to as a “sailor” chain because sailors could carry their wealth around their necks, clipping off a link as needed.