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Carnelian Dzi Barrel Beads
- Carnelian Dzi Barrel Beads
- The meaning of the Tibetan word "dzi" translates to "shine, brightness, clearness, splendor." In Mandarin Chinese, dzi are called "heaven's bead" or "heaven's pearl" (天珠; tiān zhū).
- Dzi is pronounced with a silent ‘d’ and is phonetically heard as “zee”.
- Material and Age: Artisans used agate as the base stone, and then embellished the beads lines and shapes using ancient methods that remain mysterious. Treatments may have included darkening with plant sugars and heat, bleaching and white line etching with natron, and protecting certain areas with grease, clay, wax or a similar substance. A hole was drilled before the bead was decorated as drilling caused most breakage during the production process, and holes were also useful for stringing and dipping numerous beads as a step in coloration. By the size of the drilled hole, and surface condition, as well as the condition of the white and black inlay, we believe it is fair to estimate Early to Mid 20th century.
- Bead size approx.:
- (A) 73mm x 28mm
- (B) 60mm x 23mm
(C) 70mm x 23mm
- (D) 65mm x 20mm
- Each Bead is SOLD SEPARATELY. Price is per ONE Bead.
- Dzi stones made their first appearance between 2000 and 1000 BC, in ancient India. A few hundred thousand were supposedly brought back by Tibetan soldiers from Persia during a raid. The malicious effect of the “Evil Eye” was taken very seriously. Dzi were considered to counteract the Evil Eye and offer the owner/ wearer protection.
- In some examples, the Artisans who made the Dzi created amulets with “Eyes” on them as a “fight fire with fire” form of protection.
- The earliest holes were conical and done with solid drill bits drilling from both ends and, hopefully, meeting near the center of the bead. Very small drill tips of chipped flint were used without abrasives and numerous other materials, regardless of hardness, when used with abrasives. Neolithic era beads were also drilled with hollow, tubular abrasion driven bits of reed and, later, during the Chalcolithic, copper. These drilled a hole with a core of agate inside the tubular drill. Both methods required arduous work done with a bow drill, with time and effort being determined by hardness of abrasive, from ground sand (quartz) to corundum.
Origin: Although the geographic origin of Dzi beads is uncertain, it is accepted that they are now called "Tibetan Agate Beads," just like "Tibetan Coral," which came to Tibet as an imported or traded material. The Carnelian Agate "base bead" is with certainty from India.
- Although Dzi type agate beads were made in the Indus Valley during the Harappan period and at various locations rich in Agate deposits in India, such as in Khambhat, since their Neolithic periods, the earliest archaeologically controlled find of an agate bead with Dzi style decoration of straight and curved lines and circular eye found has been from a Saka culture excavation (Uigarak) in Kazakhstan, dated 7th - 5th C. BCE. These were said to be imports from India, reflecting long distance trade with the more nomadic Saka or Scythian tribes.
- Since knowledge of the bead is derived from several differing oral traditions,
- Dzi beads have provoked controversy regarding their source, their method of manufacture and even their precise definition. In Tibetan Culture, these beads are believed to attract local Protectors, Dharmapalas or Deities, Beneficial Ghosts, Ancestors, or even Bodhisattvas. Because of this, Dzi beads are always treated with great respect.
- Sometimes shepherds and farmers find Dzi beads in the soil or in the grasslands. Because of this rare occurrence, some Tibetans traditionally believe or believed that dzi are naturally formed, not man-made.
- It has been documented that modern era Dzi style beads were made in Idar Oberstein, Germany at least as early as the 19th C. The German agate-cutters at Idar-Oberstein plied their trade since the Roman Period. They brought the coloring of agates to a science and the cutting and drilling to the mechanical level of perfection for which Germans are known.
- Some of the new Dzi have become highly collectible, resulting in much higher prices. As was true in Ancient days, only a handful of Artisans know how to make superior beads today. Less than a dozen people are manufacturing truly high-quality and beautiful Dzi beads; not much is known about who they are or where their workshops are located.
- With a few exceptions, new Dzi beads are not considered to have the Mystic associations of the Ancient beads. But it is considered possible to give new Dzi similar powers with some time and effort: 1) by taking them to be blessed by a Lama or Guru; 2) taking them on Pilgrimages to Holy Places such as Stupas and Shrines; and 3) reciting Mantras, as well as taking Religious Vows with them.
- A considered advantage of newer Dzi beads is that they do not carry any of the bad karma of previous owners. It is considered possible to rid a stone of bad energy by submerging it in saltwater for several hours, and then fanning incense over it. The Dzi should be treated with respect from that time on. Sun basking and herbal smudging are also said to purify the beads. Spirit aroma offering and recitation of Cintamani dharani are considered helpful in charging the bead as well.