Sunday, February 06, 2005


Large Twelve Striped Etched Carnelian. Pyu Period, Burma.

Ancient Glass Bead




Many ancient glass beads were designed to look like banded agate. They were also an affordable alternative to genuine stone beads.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ancient Carnelian Eye Beads



These beads were excavated in the City of Balh, Afghanistan. Similar beads have been found in the Indus Valley, Egypt and Iran. Although these beads are commonly known as 'etched' carnelian it is now known that no etching is involved. The beads were decorated by adding an alkali, soda or potash solution and then fired. The design was then able to penetrate the surface of the bead and leave the very distinctive white decoration against a background of fiery orang

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Value of dZi



 Above: A rare ancient Phum dZi bead with eyes.
  • Availablity.
There are relatively very few ancient dZi beads that come into the marketplace and this keeps the demand for these beads very high. They are cherished items and their owners will not readily part with them. If they are important heirloom beads they are even less likely to be sold.

  • Rarity of Decorations.
The rarest decorations will command the highest prices. Also, certain types of dZi are more desirable than others. There will also be some designs that are rarely seen in the marketplace or have never been seen, and it is easy to become out of touch with true market prices if one spends little or no time traveling in Asia. 

In the year 2000 you could purchase a reasonable two eyed dZi for somewhere between $1000 and $2000. In 2008 the best beads can command between $4000 and $12,000. Escalating prices make purchasing dZi difficult for the collector and it also becomes increasingly difficult for the dealers to acquire them. This is one of the many reasons that so many imitation beads are being sold. With demand so high and prices rising they are now out of reach of most collectors. Rocketing prices makes many believe that they are a very sound investment.


  • Rarity of Size and Shape
Generally the larger the bead the more valuable it becomes. Also, beads that have a shape that is less common can drive prices higher. For example, a bow shaped Chung dZi will often be more desirable than a fusiform or cylinder bead.