A Roman Amethyst Bead Necklace, ca 1st century BC - 1st century AD

Composed of fifty-one (51) biconical amethyst beads graduating in size and interspersed with sixteen (16) antique 14K filigree beads in the Etruscan style, restrung with modern 18K hook-and-loop closure.

Background:  The name of this exquisite purple quartz crystal comes from the Greek word "amethystos" that literally translates as “remedy against drunkenness”.  In antiquity, this stone was believed to keep the wearer sober no matter how much wine he might consume. All the great ancient civilizations valued the gem; it was particularly popular in Egypt for scarabs and in Greece and Rome for intaglio rings. Because of its wine-dark color and its use to prevent intoxication, many were carved with the head of the wine-god Dionysus. The oldest known stone in the Crown Jewels of England is an amethyst first worn in the 11th century by Edward the Confessor. Even today, the rings of high-ranking ecclesiastics often have amethysts as their center stones. Many wonderful and therapeutic properties are ascribed to the gem: it can cure gout, it cleanses the body of impurities, it keeps the mind clear and alert and improves the memory, it gives the wearer pleasant dreams and keeps them immune from infection and contagious diseases.

Condition:   Some beads show minor signs of wear, all are intact and in very good to excellent condition overall.

Dimensions:  Length:  18 3/4 inches (47.5 cm)

Provenance:  Nabil Anawati, Archaeologia Gallery, Montreal 1980's, thence by descent.


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