This lovely pale, pentagonal bead with a dizzying array of caramel, cream, tan, and beige coloration, has been shaped to accentuate the natural agate banding of the stone.
In the Achaemenid period, stone beads were time consuming to make, expensive and available only to the wealthy. They were considered so attractive that craftsmen were eventually inspired to create imitation agate beads from glass as a less expensive fashionable alternative.
Comparanda: Liu, Robert ; A Universal Aesthetic. Collectable Beads (Vista, 1995)
Dubin, Lois Sherr ; The History of Beads (New York, 1987)
Dimensions: length 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters), height: 1 inch (2.54 centimeters)
Condition: Intact, with expected wear and minor chipping to drilling area that does not detract.
Provenance: Private NY collection acquired in the 1960's.