Tuesday, June 07, 2011


The above bead is a newly created three eye dZi from Taiwan (less than 10 years old). It displays red blood spots which are natural iron inclusions inherent in the agate. Tibetans often look for blood spots to help distinguish ancient beads from the modern replicas, however, it is now mistaken to believe that blood spots can only appear on ancient beads. The above Taiwanese bead is proof that this is not the case and more and more new beads now display this quality.

Many new beads can also have 'brown' coloured inclusions that are often confused with blood spots, however, they are not always the same thing. Also, the spots on the above bead are clearly inherent in the stone and this means they have not been applied to the surface of the bead. Many new beads have also been given artificial surface fissures/cracks which are coated in a red dye to give the appearance of age and blood spots (see the bead below). This is often called 'Dragon Veins' by Chinese sellers of new dZi. If you look closely at the bead below, you will also see that one of the holes has a build up of red dye. This is a clear sign that the dye was added after the bead was drilled and therefore not a natural occurrence.

 Above: A new dZi bead with red dye applied to the body. 
This gives the appearance of red veins and is an
attempt to imitate the red blood spot inclusions
visible in some ancient beads.

The bead shown below is a rare quality Taiwanese bead from the early 1990s. This bead displays 'brown' inclusions which are very different from the 'red' spots that Tibetans look for when identifying ancient beads. It is possible these inclusions are simply the result of a chemical reaction between the decorated lines and the base colour during the heating of the stone.

Above: A new 'Mountain peak' dZi bead with brown inclusions.

Above: A new Lotus/Vase dZi bead with brown inclusions that are
often mistaken for 'red' blood spots. They are not the same thing!

Above: A new Taiwanese Tiger dZi bead with dense 'black' 
iron or hematite inclusions that are inherent in the stone.

Above: This is the reverse of a newly created Luk Mik 
bead from China. Many red blood spots can be seen 
in what appears to be a more crystalline zone.

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