Egyptian Antiquities :
Egyptian Beaded Necklaces : Armana Period Faience Bead Necklace
Armana Period Faience Bead Necklace - FJ.7259
Location: United States
Faience, the use of which dates back to pre-
dynastic times, is a glasslike non-clay
substance made of materials common to
Egypt: ground quartz, crushed quartz pebbles,
flint, a soluble salt-like baking soda and lime.
Colour varied the most common colour is blue,
which was achieved through the application of
ground copper. Called tjehnet by the ancient
Egyptians (meaning that which is brilliant or
scintillating) faience was thought to be
endowed with the immortal light of the sun,
moon and stars, and was believed to be
symbolic of rebirth. The associations of faience
were so strong that it is often associated with
burial contexts, guaranteeing some form of
immortality for the deceased. Various objects,
from shabtis to tiny models of household
articles, were commonly made from faience
and placed in the tomb.
Most ancient Egyptian beads were made of
faience, a glass-composite glaze which was
introduced as early as the Pre-Dynastic period.
According to Egyptologists, most beads were
made on an axis, probably of thread, which
would burn up during firing, leaving a hole.
Disc, ring and tubular beads were made by
coating the axis with the unfired body-paste,
rolling the cylinder to an even diameter on a
flat surface, and then scoring it with a knife
into sections of the desired length. Other
shapes, such as ball beads, were rolled
between the hands and perforated while still
wet with a stiff point such as a wire needle.
The beads were then dried, coating with glaze
(if the glaze had not already been mixed with
the paste), and fired. The firing process often
gave the beads a beautiful translucent quality.
The majority of faience beads are blue or
green in color, but black, red yellow and white
ones were also produced, especially in the New