This is a gorgeous 925 Silver Roman Glass Bead necklace from Afghanistan. It was strung with deep blue green glass beads that range from glass that was 1500 to 1900 years old from the Roman Empire. They were very well coordinated with black tourmaline and other natural stone spacer beads. This particular style of glass beads comes from ancient glass bangle jewelry glass that was cut and segmented for this necklace. Roman Glass was used for all kinds of things from bottles and jewelry to whole hulls of boats.
Some history of Roman Glass:
The Roman Empire began extending around the birth of Christ under the rule of Julius Caesar who became appointed dictator in 44 BC and reached its territorial peak under Emperor Trajan. Its borders extended from Spain, North Africa and England to the East and India Israel and Afghanistan to the West. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 AD however the Eastern portion endured until and invasion of the Turks brought about its end in1453.
By the end of the first century AD large scale manufacturing resulted in the establishment of glass as a commonly available material in the Roman world. Interesting many sailing vessels were made of Glass. The invention of glass blowing techniques by the Phoenicians aided this endeavor. Glass making reached its peak around the second century AD.
The major component of the glass is silica, which during the Roman period was sand quartz), which contains some alumina (typically 2.5%) and nearly 8% lime.[ Alumina contents vary, peaking around 3% in glasses from the Western Empire remaining notably lower in glasses from the Middle East.
Glasses formed of silica and soda are naturally soluble, and require the addition of a stabilizer such as lime or magnesia. Lime was the primary stabilizer in use during the Roman period, entering the glass through calcareous particles in the beach sand, rather than as a separate component.
Roman glass has also been shown to contain around 1% to 2% chlorine, in contrast to later glasses. This is thought to have originated either in the addition of salt (NaCl) to reduce the melting temperature and viscosity of the glass.
Aqua a pale blue-green color is the common natural color of untreated glass. Many early Roman vessels are this color.
The natural aqua shade of the glass can be intensified with the addition of copper. During the Roman period this was derived from the recovery of oxide scale from scrap copper when heated, to avoid the contaminants present in copper minerals. Copper produced a translucent blue moving towards a darker and denser green.
Colorless glass was produced in the Roman period by adding manganese oxide. This oxidized the iron (II) oxide to iron (III) oxide, which although yellow, is a much weaker colorant, allowing the glass to appear colorless. The use of manganese as a deodorant was a Roman invention first noted in the Imperial period; prior to this, Antimony rich minerals were used.
Some of the beads have nicks in them they are not perfect, the glass is very old.; Also one has about 40% of its side missing exposing some of the inner wire but seems to be hanging fast to the necklace regardless and probably will continue to stay on ok.
For the most part the beads are in very good shape. A few minor nicks on some of them.
I know whoever gets this necklace is going to love it.
Necklace length: 23" long ( 58.4 cm long )
Bead Size: about 0.5" tall and 0.2" wide ( 1.5 cm tall and 0.5 cm wide )
Weight: 0.50 oz ( 13 gm )