Gold bead: an example of lost craftsmanship

Gold bead: an example of lost craftsmanship


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A tiny but very peculiar artifact was discovered by Israeli archaeologists in Jerusalem. An 18-year-old volunteer girl who was sifting soil at the excavation site and noticed something glittering in the sieve got lucky. It turned out to be a bead about 1,600 years old, made of pure gold.


In the photo: a girl who found the bead demonstrates the valuable finding.


At first glance, it seems that there is nothing remarkable in the bead. But upon closer examination, one can’t help but admire the incredible talent of the ancient jeweler.

Dr. Amir Golani of the Israel Antiquities Authority explains: “The most interesting aspect of the bead is its unique and complex production method. A good understanding of the materials and their properties is required, as well as control over the heat. Only a professional craftsman could produce such a bead, which is another reason that this find holds great value.”


In the photo: it took extraordinary craftsmanship to connect the tiny gold balls into a flower-like structure.


Probably, the bead was an element of a larger decoration, for example, a necklace or bracelet. Such a thing could only belong to a very wealthy person. This is also indicated by the fact that the item was created in the ruins of a once luxurious Roman building. Judging by the elegant architecture and the mosaic floor, one can conclude that extremely wealthy people lived there.


In the photo: the remains of the construction in which the bead was discovered.  


Gold objects are rarely found in this region, so finding a piece of such complexity is a huge rarity. All similar beads found here earlier were made of silver. According to Dr. Golani, during his career as an archaeologist, he only found jewelry made of gold once or twice, and when this happens, it is always a big success.

Most likely, the gold bead was transported to Jerusalem from Mesopotamia — in those ancient times, it was there that a unique technology for making jewelry was mastered. Even today, with the use of modern tools, creating something like this is not so easy.

The Jerusalem bead makes you think about how much our distant ancestors knew and were able to create. Finally, here is the statement of the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Eli Escusido: “A close examination of this object fills one with a deep sense of admiration for the technical skill and ability of those who came before us many centuries ago.”


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