Art/ Collection/ Art Object


19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Saudi Arabia
Gold, fabricated from sheet, wire, and swaged wire, decorated with granulation, set with turquoise
Max. L. of bead 1 3/5 in. (4.05 cm), Max. Diam. 4/5 in. (2 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mobil Foundation Inc. Gift, 1980
Accession Number:
Not on view
Further confirming the Arabian Peninsula as a region rich in the tradition of jewelry art are these remarkable hollow beads from a necklace that was probably completed by additional sections of beads, most likely of turquoise and coral, somewhat irregularly shaped. These beads might have been considered medieval were it not for their place of origin and the corroborating evidence of the origin of related types. While these beads have distinctive individual features not known on medieval pieces (most notably, the large set turquoises), analogies–particularly of form–with earlier pieces are obvious. The granulation work and the overall technical control of these beads are of such high quality, and their design of such classical proportions, that we may well wonder whether they represent the survival of an as-yet-unknown medieval type.
[ Francois Rabier, Brussels, until 1980; sold to MMA]
Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn, and Manuel Keene. Islamic Jewelry in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1983. no. 72, p. 130, ill. (color).

Metropolitan Jewelry. 1991. p. 11, ill. (color).

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