Ancient dZi Beads from 2500BC to 500AD
Various Chung dZi, Etched Carnelians and Eye beads
The beads in this album are of various types and come from a wide variety of regions.
Huge natural Eye Luk Mik dZi
This eye bead is a natural unetched bead and is enormous, measuring about 36mm. These beads were worn to protect the wearer from the "Evil Eye" and were highly valued and anyone owning such a bead was considered fortunate. They were often used to seal a deal by traders on the Silk road, and so can be found in all parts of Asia. I bought this bead many years ago from an old Tibetan lady I met in a shop in Dharamsala, N. India. The shopkeeper was not able to buy it at that time and told me that the woman needed to sell it to pay for her husband's funeral, and could I possibly help her out. Of course I was more than happy to oblige and add a great bead to my collection. This type of bead can also be seen mounted in gold. Value maybe $1000 or more.
Double eye bead
This etched bead is approx. 16mm and is very unusual in that it has markings both sides. I bought it from an old Buddhist monk in Ladakh, N. India in 1981. We had become quite friendly over a period of about two months, and he had many pieces of dZi but none that I could afford. He offered this bead to me just as I was leaving the area. It is remarkable in that it had the classic eye on one side, and a Western style Celtic cross on the other. When he gave it to me the monk pointed at the eye and then pointed to himself. He then pointed at the cross, stretched out his arms indicating the crucifixion and then pointed at me! He spoke no English, but I understood that he was telling me that this bead had the symbols of both of our religions. Sadly it was accidentally broken and has been repaired, otherwise its value would be high, as it is unique.
Monk's Hat beads
These two conical etched carnelians are called "Monks Hat" dZi and are worth around $150 - $200 each.
Etched bead with cross
This bead despite its possible early Christian symbolism it is not connected to Christianity, and has likely Buddhist origins. The cross was the symbol of the old Buddhist city of Taxila, located in what is now Pakistan, and dates back as far as 500BC. This bead is possibly from that area and time and is in particularly good condition, and would be valued at around $100+. 16mm square.
Afghan Sulemani Agate
This bead is believed to come from the Afghanistan region and is made from a type of agate called Sulemani agate. Legend has it that this type of agate originated from the lost mines of King Solomon. Not long after I had bought it in 1981, I was wearing it when it was spotted by an Afghan refugee from the war with the Russians, who got extremely excited on seeing the bead and informed me that it originated from his country, that it was approx. 1500 years old and that it was highly valuable and sought after in his country. I asked him if there was a specific reason why it was so valuable, and he said because it could be sold to Americans,who would pay big money for it! So it was for commercial rather than spiritual reasons that he rated it so highly. It is a large bead measuring 47mm x 15mm, but it has been well looked after throughout its history and is in exceptionally fine condition. Hard to value as it does not easily compare with other beads, but around $300 -350.
Mixed Chung dZi necklace.
This mainly unetched necklace has probably been put together in recent times as the beads in it vary greatly in age, probably by over 1500 years. The big single eyed Chung dZi is a beautiful bead in excellent condition and is large measuring 43mm x 18mm. The eye is perfect and it would have a market value of at least $800. There is only one etched bead in it and it is only two thirds of a bead. The whole necklace is probably worth around $1800 - 2500 retail.
Detail of Mixed Chung dZi Necklace
Various Chung dZi
Detail Of Various Chung dZi
Various Chung dZi Beads
Etched and unetched Chung dZi Necklace
This is my own personal necklace and contains all my favourite beads collected over the last 36 years.
Sasanian Stamp Seal
Thes pictures are of a Sassanian stamp seal made from Chalcedony that was bought on a string of Chung dZi, but without either myself of the seller knowing about. It wasn't until much later that I discovered what it was.I discovered this seal by mistake as it was included in a job lot of Chung dZi. It was some find as it is worth more than I paid for the job lot! I have tried to research the cockerel but have found nothing of significance. The quality of the carving is exceptional. Chalcedony is a hard stone measuring 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale, the maximum being a diamond at 10, so it would have to have been carved with something harder than 8, and there is not much choice. Corundum at a hardness of 9, to which Ruby and Sapphire belong, or more likely diamond. It is also unusual in that dome seals usually have a flat side where the design is carved, but I have never seen a seal cut like this on the curve. It would have been a lot more difficult to do and keep the perspective. It measures 20 mm in diameter, and 14 mm at its widest point.