CHINESE Hand Carved Antique Pieces of Soapstone, Silver and Carnelian Combined to form an exquisite-One-of-a-Kind Necklace
I am assuming these beads to be primarily Soapstone. They are definitely made from a mined agate of some kind and were originally made in China. They have a slightly green cast and I was hoping that they might be jade, but I don't think so. The Silver Melon Beads are probably East Indian and quite ancient. The hooked Butterfly Clasp is also made of some aggretage of silver. This piece is Hand Knotted and has been in this configuration for many years.
Soapstone is a dense aggregate of talc and has a semi-Transparency. A Soapy feel gives the semiprecious stone its name and the cooler than room temperature feel holds true for soapstone like it does for harder gemstones.
Soapstone, also known as steatite, can be found all over the world. Much of the soapstone seen these days comes from Brazil, China or India. Significant deposits also exist in Australia and Canada, Stones from different countries have different properties, but all are geologically stable, solid and not affected by humidity, therefore objects carved from soapstone last a very long time. The exquisite carving of these beads and pendant refine their origin to China from the distant past.
As a natural stone, soapstone colors can vary slightly. Generally, the natural color of soapstone is a chalky looking light gray or other shades of gray The beads in this necklace definitely have a celadon and taupey coloration. Certain slabs can appear to have shades of different colors strewn throughout, such as blue or green, depending on the veins of quartz that can run through slabs of soapstone.
This necklace is 26" end to end.It definitely has the look of Jade. The Pendant is hand carved and is variegated in color, it is 2 1/2" x 3 3/4" It is suspended by two small circles of matching beads that are threaded through the pendant. There are 3 Hand Carved Cubed Beads of taupe and beigy celadon incorporated in the design. In between, are assorted sizes of oval beads each of slightly different shading and markings. Antique East Indian Melon Silver Beads anchor the left focus of the Carved Squares, Flanked by two Carnelian Flat Round "Lifesaver" beads on each side. This is a spectacular Chinese Necklace of some age that will add interest and accessorize in a very special way.With the recent great interest in the repatriation of original Chinese items, this very lovely necklace should have some interest to jewelry aficionados and collectors. I believe this to be very rare.