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You are here: Home > dZi & other Ancient, Antique & Rare Beads > Coral



Natural red coral has been a sought after material in Tibet for many centuries. Tibetans have come to regard red coral as being more precious than gold (the most prized beads are selling for as much as $200 per gram in Tibet). Salmon orange to deep red beads are always the most valuable. Round beads are also more sought after than other shapes. Coral is primarily used for personal adornment, however, it is also prized in Tibetan medicine as an antidote to poison. In the Tibetan culture, red coral is seen as an efficacious amulet for warding off negativity. It is often heirloomed from mother to daughter or given as part of a dowry. Sometimes an entire families wealth may be invested in coral and other precious beads such as amber or dZi. Coral cabachons are also used to decorate statues, stupas and ritual items. It is particularly favoured as a material for malas because it is believed to magnify or enhance the activity of the Dharma practitioner. It would be hard to find a material that holds quite the same allure.

The majority of antique 'Tibetan' red coral actually originated from the Mediterranean Sea. It travelled along the silk trade route via Iran, Samarkand, Ladakh and then finally ended up in the markets of Lhasa. It was also traded to India by a direct sea route from the end of the 15th Century. This made it much easier for Tibetan traders to get a more regular supply. Mediterranean coral is now protected from harvesting, so it is difficult to find undyed beads. The marketplace offers many fake coral beads and dyed alternatives, however, they can never be a substitute for the real thing!

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Himalayan Bead Necklace with Ancient Phum dZi, Coral, Amber, Turquoise & Silver
Himalayan Bead Necklace with Ancient Phum dZi, Coral, Amber, Turquoise & Silver
Our Price: £825.00

This necklace was aquired in the 1970s by the previous owner. It is comprised of antique red coral, antique turquoise, antique amber (possibly Burmite and of Burmese origin), a portion of an ancient Phum dZi and numerous hilltribe silver beads. The ancient Phum dZi was clearly broken many hundreds of years ago and has a patina and wear at both ends that indicates it continued to be heirloomed, worn and cherished despite the break. A great collection of beads that makes for a very eye catching and unique necklace. Strung with a chain and clasp and ready to be worn.

Condition: Mostly very good with weathering and patina commensurate with age.

33 antique red coral beads (smallest 8 mm diameter, largest 18 mm)
3 antique turquoise beads (largest 24 mm x 24 mm)
Ancient Phum dZi (20 mm x 15 mm)
largest amber 27 mm
Length of strand approx 20 inches
total weight 112 grams

n.b. One of the amber beads has loss to one of the ends
Antique Himalayan Necklace with Red Coral & Turquoise
Antique Himalayan Necklace with Red Coral & Turquoise
Our Price: £700.00

A lovely Himalayan necklace comprised of authentic antique natural coral and antique turquoise.

Age of beads: 100 to 300 years
Collected in the 1980s
length of necklace 16 inches
largest corals measure 13 mm
Condition: Mostly very good with natural pitting and surface fissures. No breaks or repairs
52 grams
Antique Natural Coral Bead Necklace
Antique Natural Coral Bead Necklace
Our Price: £525.00

A beautiful antique natural coral bead necklace. This is completely natural salmon coloured coral and is not dyed or enhanced in any way. The larger round beads are mostly a pale salmon colour and these are flanked by much darker orangey red coral beads.

Strung on braided thread and with original antique clasp.
Condition: Excellent
Age of coral: 19th C
weight 68 grams
length of necklace 24 inches long
large round beads measure 11 mm to 12 mm
smaller spacer beads measure 4 mm to 7 mm



Antique Mediterranean Coral Necklace
Antique Mediterranean Coral Necklace
Our Price: £210.00

A beautiful antique mediterranean coral bead necklace. This is completely natural salmon coloured coral and is not dyed or enhanced in any way.

Strung and knotted on original silk thread and with a gold (not hallmarked) clasp.
Condition: Excellent
Age of coral: 19th C
weight 14 grams
length of necklace 25 inches long
beads measure 4 mm to 7 mm



15 Antique Red Coral Beads
15 Antique Red Coral Beads
Our Price: £200.00

A lovely group of antique red coral tube beads that were sourced in Nepal.

Age of beads: 100 to 300 years
weight 13 grams
smallest 12 mm
largest 24.5 mm
Condition: Very good
Imitation Coral Bead
Imitation Coral Bead
Our Price: £0.45

A large plastic imitation coral bead. If you require more than one bead please add more to your cart.

approx 22 mm
Sourced in Nepal
Condition: Excellent