Monday, December 28, 2009

 A new bow shaped Sardonyx bead from China. approx 44 mm x 16 mm

A new round agate eye bead from China. diameter approx 23 mm

Natural chalcedony from the Gobi Desert.

Ancient bow shaped agate bead. 30.10 mm x 16.17 mm

Thursday, December 24, 2009

An ancient Phum dZi with a zone of crystalline quartz. The process of treating agate to alter or enhance the colour leaves the crystalline areas unaffected. 28.75 mm x 12 mm

Ancient Chong dZi with natural red coral.

Ancient Chong dZi bead approx 48 mm x 13 mm

Friday, December 18, 2009

These are more recently created carnelian beads from India and are likely to be less than 20 years old. Similar beads are typically passed off as antique Pema Raka. To the untraind eye it can often be hard to tell them apart.  Smallest bead measures 35 x 22 mm

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Phurba or Kila Thogchag 77.45 mm x 8.97 mm

A strand of ancient (some may be antique) carnelians. Sourced in Nepal.

Ancient carnelian beads. Sourced in Nepal.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A collection of antique Thokcha or Thogchags. The largest piece represents Vajrapani or Chagna Dorje in his wrathful form. Vajrapani was the main recipient of the tantras from Shakyamuni Buddha. measures approx 88 mm x 60 mm.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

These are natural lotus seeds. They are possibly given this name because they resemble the buds of a lotus flower, however, they do not come from the Nelumbo nucifera or Lotus plant. The white lotus is an important Buddhist symbol and represents perfect purity. Lotus seed is the name given to these beads in Nepal and India, they are typically seen as round beads and are very popular for Buddhist malas. The first time I encountered lotus seeds in this natural shape was in August 2009. each seed measures 18.40 mm x 15 mm

If you know the actual name of these seeds and where they originate from please email me.


These amulet beads are called Za Trung and are made according to the instructions of Longchen Rabjampa (1308 – 1364). They protect the wearer against unfavourable planetary alignments. Each bead displays three eyes, made more prominent by what appears to be red ochre or sindhura powder (unconfirmed). They appear to be made from a resinous mix and then rolled on a plastic core. The core may even include a roll of mantras (also unconfirmed). It is clear that their shape and eye design resemble dZi beads. They are made by monks at Chorten Gompa Monastery in Sikkim and are blessed by the great Nyingma master, Dodrupchen Rinpoche.approx 24 mm x 11 mm

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Antique Pema Raka bead (centre).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Antique or ancient Pema Raka beads. largest approx 22 mm x 15 mm  more photos here

Thursday, November 12, 2009

These beads are imitation banded agate beads made from glass. Many folks believe they are ancient but they are more likely to be antique beads. Lois Dubin placed a very similar bead ("Stratified Mosaic Glass" no.606) on her original 'History of Beads' timeline and dated it to 250 BCE to 450 CE. Her newly revised timeline (2009) has now replaced this image with a different photo. Please email me if you know more about these beads. (top photo 44.96 mm x 11.71 mm)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ancient stone and glass beads that were sourced in Nepal over a 10 year period. The stone beads include; amethyst, quartz, tourmaline, aquamarine, citrine and topaz. There are a few imitation tourmaline beads made from glass. It is possible that some of these beads were traded to Nepal from Burma and therefore they are actually Pyu/Tircul stone beads.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bhutia woman (Sikkim) c1920s.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Ancient agate bead 22.61 mm x 13.82 mm

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Three matched antique Pema Raka.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

These distinct long agate beads (largest is 86 mm x 8 mm) are believed to come from South East Asia and are often identified as being 1000 years old or more (more evidence is needed to prove this). The material was carefully selected to showcase the natural crystalline stripe in the centre of each bead. Many examples have gold end caps. They have wonderful reddish hues when held to the light.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Chinese imitation dZi bead (center). These beads appear to be made from bowenite which is a variety of the serpentine group. There are faint traces of eye decoration on the two beads that immediately flank the eye bead. This decoration has faded or rubbed off over time. They are probably 19th century creations. The darker eye bead is likely to be a later 20th century bead (1970s). They were collected in Nepal and Tibet. The central eye bead measures 36.46 mm x 13.67 mm

Sunday, October 04, 2009

In the past few years a number of ancient dZi beads are being seen in the marketplace with a new type of repair. Sometimes it is the restoration of only a small fragment or chip, however, this large two eyed bead has had both ends replaced with polymer (Keats, pers. com.). The work is often so good that it is hard to notice with the naked eye but under closer scrutiny it is much more obvious.

If purchasing an ancient bead one should check the bead very carfeully for damage. A very light tapping of the bead on your teeth is a good way to detect stone from the polymer areas. Using a UV light or taking a macro photograph should also show up any differences between the repair and the original stone. The above bead was repaired in Tibet but this method is also being used in Nepal. According to Dr James Keats, this is probably a polymer used widely by the dental profession and has been available for the last 10 years.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Various ancient decorated carnelian and agate beads.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ancient decorated and undecorated Bhaisajyaguru beads.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ancient black and white dZi with single decorated stripe.

 Ancient single stripe dZi beads.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tibetan pilgrim. c1920s

Very large ancient decorated stone eye bead (center) from Burma. size 23.76 mm

Old gau with a Vajra Yogini Tsa Tsa.

Ancient Chung dZi with rare decoration (center).

Ancient decorated carnelian with three eyes.

Ancient banded agate with modern gold cap.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ancient carnelian with the longevity decoration.