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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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Antique Himalayan Coral & Turquoise Choker Necklace
Antique Himalayan Coral & Turquoise Choker Necklace
Our Price: £700.00

A lovely Himalayan necklace comprised of authentic antique natural coral and 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
Huge Antique Red Coral Bead ~ 31 mm
Huge Antique Red Coral Bead ~ 31 mm
Our Price: £480.00

A huge antique natural red coral bead. Extremely difficult to find in this size and very sought after colour!

This bead has remained in a private collection since the 1980s
Condition: Very good with natural pitting and surface fissures. No breaks or repairs
31 mm x 19 mm (depth)
Age: 100 years plus
24 grams
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 26 mm
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 26 mm
Our Price: £150.00

A huge antique mosaic coral bead. Coral is so highly prized in the Himalayan regions that even beads with surface fissures and holes are highly valued. Not a piece of coral was wasted! Gaps were often filled with a wax and pitch mixture that is called lakh. Sometimes smaller pieces of coral were also added to give the appearance of a complete and much more uniform shaped bead. The result is that each bead has its own unique character.

Collected in the 1980s
26 mm x 18 mm (depth)
Age: 100 to 300 years old
Condition: Very good with natural pitting and surface fissures.
17 grams
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 26 mm
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 26 mm
Our Price: £140.00

A huge antique mosaic coral bead. Coral is so highly prized in the Himalayan regions that even beads with surface fissures and holes are highly valued. Not a piece of coral was wasted! Gaps were often filled with a wax and pitch mixture that is called lakh. Sometimes smaller pieces of coral were also added to give the appearance of a complete and much more uniform shaped bead. The result is that each bead has its own unique character.

Collected in the 1980s
26 mm x 18 mm (depth)
Age: 100 to 300 years old
Condition: Very good with natural pitting and surface fissures.
20 grams
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 24 mm
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 24 mm
Our Price: £100.00

A huge antique mosaic coral bead. Coral is so highly prized in the Himalayan regions that even beads with surface fissures and holes are highly valued. Not a piece of coral was wasted! Gaps were often filled with a wax and pitch mixture that is called lakh. Sometimes smaller pieces of coral were also added to give the appearance of a complete and much more uniform shaped bead. The result is that each bead has its own unique character.

Collected in the 1980s
24 mm x 17 mm (depth)
Age: 100 to 300 years old
Condition: Mostly good with natural pitting and surface fissures.
14 grams
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
Rare Antique Natural Coral Bead Mala with 27 Beads plus the Guru Bead
Rare Antique Natural Coral Bead Mala with 27 Beads plus the Guru Bead

SOLD!

A rare 27 bead hand mala with natural undyed coral. Beads are slightly graduated from 7.5 mm through to 8.5 mm. More than 20 beads are over 8 mm. The two part coral guru bead measures 14 mm and 9 mm. The coral beads on the tassle are approx 7 mm. The tassle includes a lovely brass endless knot and has six natural red coral beads. It is incredibly hard to find such perfectly matched round coral beads. It is strung with 27 beads because four rounds on the mala will give you 108 recitations.

total weight 27 grams
Age: coral beads 100 years +
Condition: Excellent
strung on strong braided cord.

Beads display white inclusions which are inherent to the coral.

Seven Antique Coral Beads - 14 mm to 18 mm
Seven Antique Red Coral Beads - 14 mm to 18 mm

SOLD!

A lovely group of deep red natural coral beads. Beads display natural pitting that is inherent in the material. Completely natural and undyd beads! Rare!

These beads have remained in a private collection since the 1980s
Condition: Very good with natural pitting. No breaks or repairs
smallest 14 mm x 14 mm
largest 15 mm x 14 mm
Age: 100 years plus
33 grams
Antique White Coral Mala with Antique Red Coral Dividers
Antique White Coral Mala with Antique Carved Coral Dividers

SOLD!

A beautiful antique white coral bead mala. The beads have a lovely usage patina as a result of countless mantra recitations. The mala has natural antique salmon coloured coral dividers in the shape of flowers and also a very gemmy sapphire bead that has been carved with a buddha. It is terminated with a larger single coral as the guru bead. Unique and beautiful!

Condition: Very Good
Age of coral: 19th C
From an old collection.
Guru bead size = 8 mm
round bead size = 6 to 7 mm diameter

Please note that there are 103 white coral beads and 5 salmon coloured coral beads that make up the 108 beads. The carved flower beads and saphhire bead are additional to this.


Antique Coral Mala
Antique Coral Mala with Turquoise Dividers and Old Silver Counters

SOLD!

A lovely authentic natural coral mala with genuine antique beads. The mala is comprised of natural 'undyed' coral and they are slightly graduated from 7 mm to 9 mm diameter.  It has beautiful round antique turquoise dividers and old silver bell and dorje counters. It also has a large vibrant natural turquoise guru bead.

Recently re-strung on strong braided nylon mala cord.

108 Antique Coral Beads plus the three turquoise dividers
and guru bead with coral beaded tassle.
The coral beads average about 8 mm in diameter (some are as much as 9 mm)
Round Turquoise Dividers = 11 mm
Turquoise Guru Bead = 16 mm