This old Afghan silver pendant with coral, lapis, jade and silver beads is assembled in a traditional two strand random vining pattern. Necklaces with multiple strands usually carried the bride wealth passed on to the bride at her wedding day. It usually was composed of silver and gemstones, the more valued the stones, the better. The central silver pendant has been worn through many years, dating from the early 1900s. It is the traditional Kazakh style of Afghan jewelry, showing the Turkoman cultural influence that lives on in Afghanistan even now. The small pieces of coral were set into the silver when I collected this piece in Afghanistan in 1974 at the time I lived there. I took my inspiration for stringing this necklace from the tiny coral gemstone that is set in both sides of the two-sided pendant.
For the two old silver beads that join the strands on each side of the pendant, I used Afghan silver alloy beads with a Persian-influenced chased decoration on a hollow 3-panel shape. For the silver separator beads, I chose small Tibetan silver plated zinc beads with no lead content.
The gemstones in this piece have been valued highly since ancient times and show up in very old jewelry of the Himalayan regions, northern Afghanistan sits in the Hindu Kush range, the foothills of the High Himalayas. The coral used in the oldest jewelry of that region was the now almost unavailable Mediterranean coral, while modern jewelry generally must use the deep Pacific Ocean pinkish coral that has been dyed red.
Lapis lazuli originated as a gemstone from the mountains of Afghanistan and the native lapis and agates, along with serpentine, which is called Afghan jade were the favored gemstones of the eastern slopes of the Himalayas. On the eastern side of the Himalayas, agate and jade were the favored stones.
Necklace = 26 inches (62 cm) long
Pendant = 27 mm diameter