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Star-shaped bead, from Tell Dafana, Egypt, 300–200 BCE

This tiny star-shaped bead is made of lapis lazuli, a deep-blue semi-precious stone sourced, through trade, from as far afield as Afghanistan. In ancient Egypt, it was often used to make amulets and ornaments. It was said that the gods had skin of gold and hair of lapis lazuli. This explains the use of these materials in the famous funerary mask of Tutankhamen, which represents him as a god.

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