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A Jewelry Type from Iran with Beads

I have no idea what to call these. I have only seen them in Iran, though they might be used elsewhere. They are silver bezels holding various "gems," and are attached by means of two loops on their backs.

They might be considered brooches, except that brooches are usually attached with pins.
I don't know where these were used, on which garment or what part of the body. During the Safavid Period (1502-1736) decorative bands were worn on the upper arm. These may have been used that way. If anyone has more information, please contact me

Most of these ornaments seem to be decorated principally with beads. Two of those are shown here. The one at left has a round tabular bead of cloudy agate or jasper in the center. It is surrounded by bits of turquoise (Iran has been a major turquoise source).

In some cases, the turquoise bits are beads. And some (maybe most) appear to be glass beads.

The round tabulars appear to have only been popular in Iran in perhaps the early 2nd millennium. They are byproducts of the making of finger rings at the Medieval lapidary center of Limudra, India.

Top right is a ring being cut from stone with a copper or bamboo drill. The outside ring broke and it was discarded. Bottom right is one of many such plugs that were discarded (others were drilled through the edges to serve as beads). It is made from the rather rare black chalcedony, Lydian stone.

A successful ring roughout from modern Cambay, India and a finished ring. The modern method is the same as the Medieval, though the center plugs seem no longer to be made into beads.

Another one of these Persian pieces of jewelry. In this case, the entire "gem" is a truncated hexagonal bicone bead made of red chalcedony, It was likely produced at Limudra before ca. AD 960. The jewelry piece, however, could have been made much later.


A smaller carnelian bead, similar to that used in the jewelry piece above. It probably comes from the same time and place.


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