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Necklace with Melon-Shaped Beads and Five Spiral Ring Attachments

The development of irrigation, writing, and law codes in the city-states of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) led to thriving communities that fostered art production. Sumerian artists, in particular, used materials such as lapis lazuli and gold as inlays in sumptuous furniture, ritual objects, and jewelry. Neither gold nor lapis lazuli, however, was available in Sumer or anywhere in Mesopotamia. Well-developed trade routes brought the dark blue stone from Afghanistan, and the gold probably came from Egypt or Anatolia (modern Turkey). The effort expended to access the materials added to the value of these objects as luxury items, and necklaces like this one seem to have been favored by Sumerian queens; similar examples have been found in the royal tombs at Ur.

Sumerian (Mesopotamia)
Necklace with Melon-Shaped Beads and Five Spiral Ring Attachments
ca. 2600–2400 BC
Gold, lapis lazuli, and hematite
Necklace: L. 15 3/4 in. (40.0 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Burton Y. Berry Collection, 69.76.1 A, B1-2, C1-3