There are two places where this necklace belongs. In a museum or in your home...either around your neck or hanging on the wall like the art that it is.
This antique Turkmen / Turkoman gilded sterling silver necklace originates from the Tekke tribal Turkic ethnic group native to Central Asia, primarily the Turkmen nation state of Turkmenistan. Smaller communities are also found in Iran, Afghanistan and North Caucasus.
The necklace is magnificent, made of solid sterling silver with overlays of gilded metal etched with fine raised designs. The 12 side links each have a genuine carnelian stone at the center.
The center pendant is octagonal with hand-decorated ornate designs and a small lapis stone in the center. Several dangles hang at the bottom with both lapis and carnelian stones. There's a large carnelian stone set in sterling at the back of the neck. There's no clasp.
Necklace measures about 25 inches around (goes over the head easily). It's 4 inches long at center.
This necklace weighs 229 grams (8 ounces).
It's in excellent antique condition with no notable issues.
Please read about these fascinating people...from the book "Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry : From the Colette and Jean Pierre Ghysels Collection by Frances Borel and John Bigelow Taylor" (1994 Hardcover)
The Turkmen were pastoral nomads who lived in encampments, raised livestock, bred horses. In order to ensure year-round green pastures for their animals, the tribes moved two or three times a year. While not merchants themselves, the Turkmen were in constant contact with urban populations, and were often involved with providing transport and security for long-distance caravan trade.
Although nominally Sunni Muslim, the Turkmen kept many of their pre-Islamic customs and beliefs, which were often embodied in the jewelry they made and wore. Turkmen silver jewelry carried deep symbolic meanings and often marked an individual’s passage from one stage of life to another. From a very early age, a woman started wearing jewelry whose shapes and materials were believed to ensure her ability to bear healthy children later in life. The amount of embellishments a girl wore increased as she approached marriageable age. Once she had had her first children, and her fertility had been established, the amount of jewelry she received and wore decreased. In addition, silver jewelry believed to ward off evil and illness was worn by men, women, and especially by children.
Jewelry was a significant financial investment, as it was handcrafted from precious materials. There were cases when, in times of dire need, a woman would part with her jewelry in order to help the survival of the tribe. Significant in size and weight, Turkmen jewelry objects were made of silver, decorated with semi-precious stones, and sometimes gilded for an added color effect and value.
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Big Old TURKMEN Sterling Silver Gilt Necklace w/ Carnelian Stones