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American Museum of Natural History.
Diamond-Shaped Cinnabar and Onyx Bead Necklace
Carved diamond-shaped cinnabar beads with black onyx beads and gold-plated spacers and adjustable chain with lobster claw closure. Cinnabar beads measure approximately 3/4" wide. Necklace measures approximately 18".
Cinnabar is a mineral substance once used by the Taoist philosophers to create "The Elixir of Life", a magical potion for longevity. It was also believed that cinnabar was capable of transmutation, becoming a different precious mineral every 200 years and ultimately changing into gold after 1000 years. These beads have carved wooden cores that have been coated with many layers of cinnabar lacquer.