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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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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.

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
Condition: Mostly very good with weathering and patina commensurate with age.
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
A group of 7 Large Natural Red Coral Beads ~ 14 mm to 15.5 mm
A group of 7 Large Natural Red Coral Beads ~ 14 mm to 15.5 mm
Our Price: £610.00

A wonderful group of antique natural red coral beads. Extremely difficult to find in this size and very sought after colour!

These bead have remained in a private collection since the 1980s
Condition: Very good with natural pitting and surface fissures. No breaks or repairs
14 mm to 15.5 mm
Age: 100 years plus
35 grams
Huge Antique Red Coral Bead ~ 31 mm
Huge Antique Red Coral Bead ~ 31 mm
Our Price: £420.00

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
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
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.

Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 24 mm
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 24 mm

SOLD!

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
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 26 mm
Huge Antique Mosaic Coral Bead ~ 26 mm

SOLD!

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

SOLD!

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