AUD $380.00

Ancient Bactrian Lapis Bead

An Ancient Bactrian, roughly "diamond" shaped Lapis Lazuli bead,  with a very matte dull old surface.

The colour is quite muted, with very "old denimy" flecking and a few deep patches running in a vein through a very pitted "tobacco" matrix. (perhaps 25% of one side is blue, the other matrix. But it's the age and character of this bead not its blue-ness that appeals most.

The shapes is a flattened "bi conal" with the surface thicker along the drilling and tapering narrower at the edges. The surface is pitted in places with some areas of polished remaining. The hole is quite broad measuring 4 mm at one end and 4 mm x 3 mm at the other, it appears also to taper to a finer hole where the drilling from both ends met.

The trade in Lapis Lazuli either worked into beads or raw chunks precedes the earliest civilisations and was a contributing factor in the creation of trade routes in the region.

It was carried to Mesopotamia and Syria from the mines of Badakshan in North Eastern Afghanistan, where it has been mined for over 5,000 years. Stocks of unworked Lapis have been found in Mari in NE Syria and worked beads in the Royal graves of Ur. The goddess Ishtar was known as "Our Lady of Lapis" the Egyptians treasured it but had very little as it mainly came as State Gifts from Persia and Assyria, long before the trade to Europe began. (Check Tutankhamun's Mask, all those blue stripes in his headdress are "Egyptian Blue" glass, made and used specifically to imitate Lapis Lazuli, check closely only his eyeliner is Lapis !)


Remember: The interior holes are about 1 mm (?) so they can only be threaded on silk cord or tiger tail (with smaller pivot beads to take the tension off) but as Lapis Lazuli is fairly soft, and could therefore damage, I wouldn't put it on a chain or choker. To thread them you can either use a cap to cover the ends or I use a small (4 mm ?) bead as a pivot when threading.

This old bead is one of a small collection we have been putting together for well over a decade and not newly bought by us.

Age: Circa 2nd Millenium BC.

Size:  L 31 mm x W 30 mm.

Weight: 10 grams.