|Title||Mock Dzi Stone Beads Asia 28 Inch|
|Type of Object||stone|
|Approximate Age||20th century|
|Overall Condition||Good. Some of our beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.|
|Bead Size||11-14 mm diameter. Please see picture with penny for size comparison (US penny is 19 mm diameter).|
|Strand Length||28 inches (including string/raffia)|
Picture is an example, yours will be similar.
Additional information: Tibetans have traditionally believed in the protective and medicinal properties of stones, the most powerful of which is the etched agate or “dzi.” There are many stories which seek to explain the origins of these mysterious beads. One tale is that they were the property of the gods, but were thrown away and fell to earth. Another account holds that the dzi are worm-like creatures that burrow deep in the soil. When humans discover them they turn to stone. Whatever the case, dzi are prized by Tibetans, who use them in the treatment of epilepsy and other diseases.
Since true etched agates are extremely scarce, many reproductions have come on the market. These contemporary beads are typically made from glass and are decorated with a variety of patterns, including eyes, double waves, tiger stripes and dog teeth.
Perched on a plateau in the Himalayas 16,000 feet above sea level, Tibet at first glance appears to be a remote country overshadowed by its much larger neighbors--India to the West and China to the East. In fact, Tibet has long been a cultural hub and is known worldwide for its astonishing jewelry. Historically, red coral from the Mediterranean, pearls and conch shells from the Indian Ocean were imported to supplement native amber, green turquoise, agates and precious metals. Using these materials, Tibetan silversmiths and metalworkers produced intricately worked jewelry for decorative and religious purposes. These artists would be commissioned by rich patrons, who would offer them lodging and food while the desired piece was being finished.
Today many of the painstaking methods of creating jewelry by hand have given way to semi-automated processes, and plastics and resins are used side-by-side with traditional materials. Tibetans have none of our snobbery when it comes to materials—extremely expensive pieces with sterling silver are often accompanied by resins and plastics! Having taken all of these changes in its stride, Tibet continues to provide the world with gifted jewelers and breathtaking jewelry.
We began carrying Tibetan pieces because they make exquisite beads and jewelry, and also because we are passionately committed to a Free Tibet. Almost all of our things come from a Tibetan family which lives in the United States, with relatives who are refugees in Nepal as well as in Tibet. It is a woman-owned company, which not only employs many family members in the U.S. but also provides jobs for more than 90 Tibetan refugees in Nepal. I buy about twice a year, and each buy is HUGE.
My friend's house and warehouse have Tibetan prayer flags in the courtyard. I always have dozens of cups of tea, and one traditional Tibetan tea with butter and salt. Their living room is full of Tibetan art, Buddhas draped in white silk scarves, ghau prayer boxes with pictures of the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan Flag. Your purchase supports good people, in at least three countries.
Recommended reading: Jewellery of Tibet and the Himalayas
by John Clarke