Perhaps the rarest antique banded agate beads are those designed with Montrose grey. The agates with the rare color are mined in Montrose, Angus, Scotland. Used sparingly in antique jewelry and always in small pieces. I have loved, collected and sold antique Scottish jewelry for over 35 years. This is the only necklace of these large beads I have ever seen. In the 19th century, beads found in Scotland were sent to Idar Oberstein, Germany where they were faceted and finished. The fine faceting would take many hours, per bead. The tiny facets are visible when rotating the bead under a light source. There are hundreds per bead which give the beautiful glow created by the reflection of light. Modern beads are smoothly finished or have very large facets. The early beads distinguish themselves with the intensive labor required to facet each bead individually.
This necklace is 17 inches in length and has a bold, original sterling clasp. The beads range from a remarkable 17. 2 mm to 21.1 mm.
There are imperfections, inclusions naturally found in Montrose grey agates of this size. Those pictured have the most visible and are in the back of the necklace. It is not damaged, but part of the formation of the agates.
The colors are all natural and undyed. They range from white, pale grey beige and brown.
It is a unique, remarkable antique necklace.
Scotland, circa 1860