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Hellenistic Bactrian Glazed Quartz Bead Necklace

Hellenistic Bactrian Glazed Quartz Bead Necklace

Regular price €1.450,00
Regular price Sale price €1.450,00
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Greco-Bactrian Empire, c. 200BC to 100AD, Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh, Afghanistan, Central/South Asia.

Absolutely stunning, massive and extremely rare necklace strung with 54 chiseled quartz beads from the regions of Balkh, made during the Greco-Bactrian Empire and with remnants of later glazed colour (cobalt, light blue and turquise) during the Islamic Dynasties c. 800 to 1000 AD. Each bead is skillfully carved in the very hard quartz with faceted, spheric form. The unique shapes could be a result of the craftsmanship of a primitive wheel cutting, facilitated by a cutter and an assistant, who kept the wheel spinning by applying diamond dust. This technique is as old as the invention of the diamond drill, 600 BC. and worked pretty much on the same technological level as the bow drill. Interestingly, these beads are only found in small area, which means that they were never exported along the silk routes, like so many other types of beads. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was, along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 256 to 125 BC. It was centered on the north of present-day Afghanistan. The expansion of the Greco-Bactrians into present-day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan from 180 BC established the Indo-Greek Kingdom, which was to last until around AD 10.

The necklace are in good condition. Beads with chips and nicks. Surface wear and stable hair line fissures on surface and interior. The glaze is partly worn away, and so are the original cut shapes. Scattered mineral deposits. Strung in modern times on a modern cotton cord and wearable, but we do recommend restringing this piece with a metal wire or more secure cord. Length approx. 62,0cm with 54 beads. Individual bead size varies from 1,0cm to 1,3cm.

Provenance: Danish private collection

References and further reading:

The Greek Kingdom of Bactria, its coinage and its collapse, Joe Cribb, Afghanistan Ancien Carrefour Entre Lʼest et Lʼouest: 1, Academia, 2005.(

Ancient Glazed Quartz Beads from Bactria, Gunar Muhlman, ( 

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  • Shipping

    The shipment will be prepared in the course of 3-5 days and dispatched via Posti Group Oyj or purchased item(s) can be picked up from our shop during the store's opening hours (Tarkk’ampujankatu 4, 00140, Helsinki, Finland). Within the Finland, all items are shipped via Posti Group Oyj unless otherwise requested. We pack the items carefully and mainly in recycled materials because we want to save nature. You will receive the tracking number for your items by e-mail.

  • Returns

    Returns and exchange will be accepted within fourteen days (14) of receipt at the purchaser’s cost to include freight and packaging. Items must be returned in the same condition as when they were shipped, and will not be accepted if damaged or altered in any way. Please inform us via email ( or by calling +358408408352 before sending. We do not accept returns more than 14 days after delivery.