Ancient Near East, Achaemenid Persian Empire, ca. 550 to 330 BCE. An incredibly rare collection of ancient gold jewelry components: a large, long pendant that flares outward at its waist and is decorated with incised bands, a small spherical bead with a ribbed exterior, and thirty-one diamond-shaped smaller beads. The pendant is 86% gold, equivalent to 20K+, while the beads are 81% gold, equivalent to 18K+. These have been strung with a modern gold-plated clasp to create a wearable necklace with a pleasing weight. The gold pieces here, especially the pendant, are reminiscent of the gold found in the Oxus Treasure, the largest surviving group of Achaemenid precious metalwork. Size of pendant: 1.35" W (3.4 cm); length of cord: 24" L (61 cm); gold of pendant is 86% gold, equivalent to 20K+, while gold beads are 81% gold, equivalent to 18K+; total weight: 59 grams
The Achaemenid love of silver and gold was famous throughout the ancient world. Plato wrote of how the acquisition of gold and silver was considered a virtue while Alcibiades, another Athenian, wrote of the enormous wealth in gold and silver that the Persians had. In a society where flaunting wealth was valuable, the beads and pendant of this necklace would have been prized possessions, demonstrating the high social status of their wearer. They probably ended their functional life as grave goods, placed into a tomb alongside other treasures.
See a gold bead with decoration similar to the pendant from the Oxus Treasure at the British Museum: https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=282283&partId=1&searchText=achaemenid+gold&images=true&page=1
Provenance: ex-private New York, USA collection
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Ancient beads on a modern cord with modern clasp. Slight bending to pendant. Other beads are in beautiful condition.