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Antique Idar Oberstein Facetted Red Carnelian Banded Agate Ready to Wear Sixteen Bead Strand

+ $12.00 shipping
+ $12.00 shipping


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Antique Idar Oberstein Facetted Red Carnelian Banded Agate Ready to Wear Sixteen Bead Strand

"Located on the banks of the Nahe river, the two neighboring villages of Idar and Oberstein were at the center of a region where agate has been hand mined for thousands of years. As early as the late 1400's, mechanized mining operations to extract agate, jasper and quartz created employment for gem cutters and stone carvers who flocked to the region.
In the 1800's the agate deposits along the Nahe River began to be depleted, but by that time gem-cutting was the mainstay of its inhabitants. To stay in business, they began to import rough stones from Brazil, where discoveries of amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, topaz, and other gemstones had been made.

This lovely strand is a classic example of a simpler version of their faceted carnelian agates. Typically the stone cutters would be lying on their stomachs on an inverted board with a strip of wood to rest the tips of their shoes so they would have leverage. They would have a grinding wheel in front of them powered by the river and would reach forward, stone in hand to grind and polish them. There were no safety shut offs so, if you got caught up in the wheel it was highly likely to suffer severe injury.

This strand is mainly red in color, mostly transparent and with some lovely banding as shown in the close up photos. The colors in this strand range from milky orange to a deep opaque rusty red. The overall shape is a gentle oval with facets running from hole end to hole end and the strand is graduated in size with no two beads being exactly the same size, shape or color. The length of the strand consists of approximately 23 1/2 inches of beads with an added 3 1/2 inches of raffia stranding making these beads wearable as is. Weight is 104.17 grams.

These were likely made from East Indian agate after 1800. The shortest bead is about 30mm long and the longest is about 45mm long. The beads average between 35mm and 40mm in length. They have very typical but not displeasing signs of age. Very old marks looking like dents and tiny chips along the edges that time has softened into a lovely "patina". These beads have been coveted by many tribal groups thru out history, not the least being the Naga peoples of India. This strand was last sourced in Africa.
It is a fine strand for the collector and a piece of bead history."

(Thanks go to my sister Kathryne Wright, Owner and Bead/Jewelry Officionado Extraordinaire of TheHammeredEdgeStudio here on Etsy at
for the assistance in describing the history of these gorgeous beads! Yes, this "Hunting/Gathering/Creating" URGES do run in the veins of the women in my family )

If you need a good excuse to purchase these go to the link below ;)

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