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Original Message:   Re: Shiraz Face Beads
I have a tendency to believe that these small tabular face beads are in fact ancient. I have heard the various arguments pro and con, and they may not be Roman made, or even Roman era per se, but they are most likely ancient. Whether or not they were produced in Shiraz and not just traded there, is another question.

Below is a group shot of three tabular face beads I believe that the matching pair on the bottom were produced in Alexandria during Ptolemaic Egypt, or during the Roman occupation of Egypt, post Alexander. Just above those is an example of the red background yellow-face beads that have been the subject of at least part of the controversy. They look pretty good to me. When I acquired this one (from Kamol) the story was that they were more "Islamic era" than Roman.

Given the pictorial evidence that Ali is presenting however, the examples very much appear to be authentic Roman era, at least the surrounding beads are. The rare tabular floral patterns shown in the book pictures he showed are most likely Ptolemaic Roman as well. See my second picture for a group of six different that I bought many years ago from Bassem Elias. Unfortunately I only have one left, but they were rare and amazing beads.

So I vote positive for the authenticity of the Shiraz finds, and would lean towards mid to late Roman empire period for production..

Jan Skipper, Mosquitobay

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