Many grand civilisations inhabited the area of Western Asia in Antiquity, and their wealth and prosperity are witnessed by the very sophisticated precious metal crafting of jewellery. Gold would have been hammered down to a thin layer and manipulated into different shapes, with gold and silver jewellery featuring gold granules, glass and semi-precious stone inlays and detailed engravings. Their fine detailed craftsmanship was later adopted by the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans.
Carnelian is a translucent variant of chalcedony, and ranges in colour from light orange to dark brown. Its slightly softer feature makes it ideal for carving. The colour of stones was important in antiquity, with some varieties considered, through sympathetic magic, to increase fertility, ease childbirth, and provide relief and protection from afflictions (such as scorpion bites, stomach ailments, and eye disease). Written sources list a host of powers attributed to stones, for instance protection against the evil eye, the guarantee of safe travel, a better understanding of rhetoric, and even victory in court. In ancient Greece and Rome, carnelian in particular was believed to enhance passion, love, and desire.
To discover more about jewellery in the Ancient World, please visit our relevant post: Jewellery in Antiquity.