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Ancientbead.com is not just about beads
I also created this site as a declaration of love for India - a country so deep, so mysterious and so contradictory that I will never come to understand it. The mystery can, however, spur curiosity, fascination, and imagination.
The longing for beauty
Nothing is more Indian than an Indus bead. No beads I love more than Indus beads.

Just have a look at the fossilized beads above and below. What does it show apart from the greatest craftsmanship? It shows that the mindset of the person who created this bead is not so far from yours and mine. Why did the ancient Indus-man use this fossilized stone for his bead? Is it not because he like us appreciated beauty?

Abstract Indus art

Indus Art
5000 years ago a person from a world otherwise hard to imagine had the time and ability to create something he saw, and I see as beautiful. The bead makers feeling of appreciation has traveled for such a long time and distance to reverberate in me right in the here and now. That is for me something maybe even greater than listening to a sublime piece of music made by Bach. Ancient Indus beads are pure art.

The earliest Indian beads are the earliest art in Asia.
'The Beads of India' - Peter Francis

Indus beads from 'Greater India'
The beads presented here origin from Balochistan in Pakistan. However, they are not termed 'Pakistanus' Valley beads.
They are rightly named Indus beads.
They are pointing back in time to a 'Greater India', that at the height of the Indus civilization encompassed 1,5 million km2!. Even at the much later days of the great Mauryan Empire, it included Kabul! In this sense, India has to get to terms with the fact that its great ancient culture only partly arose within the geographical borders of the India we know today.
What you are about to see below are the oldest art beads, not in Asia as Peter Francis writes, but in the world!
Ancient Beads are pure art
Most of them are like modern paintings with their abstract patterns and colors. Hence we have modern abstract art both in the beginning and the end of time in the same way that Picasso turned to the ancient African masks for inspiration.

The micro world of patterns and colors
However - beads are like miniature paintings. So if you are the lucky one in possession of an ancient Indus bead, I recommend you always to have a good loupe at hand. That will enable you to enjoy and marvel at the micro world of patterns and colors of the bead.
I proudly present this collection of super ancient Early Indus Beads. My thanks go to Mr. Tira Vanichtheeraont from Thailand for handing over this rare collection to me.
Let us start with:


EIV 1  - 56 * 20 mm

The hole

Click on pictures
for larger images

Huge round & rare bead made of fossilized agate.

We don't know much about the Indus people. Their scripture has not been deciphered. However at least two things I have in common with them: The appreciation for beauty and the interest in what is rare and different.

How many beads & people at the dawn of civilizations?
At the beginning of the Indus civilization around 3000 BC, only around 14 million people were living on this planet. Between 3 to 5 million lived at that time in the lucky latitude of the Indus Valley civilization. Now you can imagine how few ancient artifacts there must be from this time period. Indus beads are rare.
At the later historical period of the Mauryan Ashoka around 250 BC, the number of humans had increased almost tenfold to around 130 million. Here the Ashokan Empire as the most populous took the price with estimated 50 million inhabitants! At the time of the proud Mauryan empire, the bead production increased dramatically.

is rare
I guess by now you got an idea of how few ancient beads there are in this world. If we focus on fossilized beads like the ones displayed above and below, the number is of course even much less.
I guess that the quantity of real ancient Indus beads is 20 times less than the number of beads from the later classical period. Furthermore, the use of beads expanded from being a signifier of membership to upper classes to be a more common commodity both for the trading middle class and for the significant segment of Buddhist monks.

EIV 2  - 41 * 28 * 11 mm
Fossilized corals - sandstone


Here comes my definition of an Indus bead. If you can breathe comfortably  through the hole, it is either a pre-Indus or an Indus Valley bead.

A Mauryan bead will make you feel uncomfortable and a Gupta bead will suffocate you.

Anyhow ... from the Gupta period and onwards Indian beadmaking has been in decline. At least this is my opinion.

C.G. Jung would call the following incident synchronicity. Two weeks after I got all these beautiful Indus beads in Thailand, I walked a Sri Lankan sunset beach. There were corals everywhere and suddenly my eye searched out this one. One  could say that my eyes were looking out for sync:

It is quite obvious that the corals in the large yellow Indus bead displayed above and in the coral are identical.

Hard versus soft stone beads
The change in society from a relatively egalitarian hunter-gatherer society to a more hierarchy based agricultural society can be read out of the choice of bead material. Most of the oldest Indus beads are made in soft stone like the fossil beads above and below. However harder materials like jasper and agate soon took over. Harder stone beads like the ones made in agate or jasper were much more challenging and time-consuming to make. Hence they could be used in the emerging need for display of status. Soft stones could, however, survive as long as they displayed rare qualities. My guess is therefore that beads made of fossilized sandstone still could compete with the 100 times harder to make cryptocrystalline agate or jasper beads.


EIV 2A  - 38,5 * 30.5 * 11 mm
Another huge soft stone early Indus bead with the same fossilized patterns.


 EIV 3  -  66,5 * 19,5 mm                                   
Rare stones with many colors, shapes, and forms
From the beginning, the Indus people went to great efforts to obtain exotic stones for making beads of different colors, shapes, and sizes. With increasing bead making skills and diversion in social stratification, it was not longer enough just to own a perfect made bead. For the bead and its owner to stand out the hunt for the unique and rare stone became more and more important.

EIV 4  - 24 * 18 * 7,5 mm
Not for sale

No other bead displayed on Ancientbead.com will, in my opinion, come closer to what we today understand as abstract art.
Most fossils are made in sedimentary rock like sandstone. This is the case with EIV 4

That explains the fascinating variety of the Indus beads shapes, materials and colors, a quality far from the dull uniformity of the DZI-beads. The individual bead had the function to make its owner stand out to stand above. The absence of consistency in material and design in the 'stand out and above' beads indirectly shows the relative innocence in this first period of class diversification. Social classes did somehow not solidify into uniformity as it did in the contemporary Egyptian culture.

EIV 4A - RB 7 - 23 * 20 * 9 mm
Not for sale


That explains the fascinating variety of the Indus beads shapes, materials and colors, a quality far from the dull uniformity of the DZI-beads. The individual bead had the function to make its owner stand out to stand above. The absence of consistency in material and design in the 'stand out and above' beads indirectly shows the relative innocence in this first period of class diversification. Social classes did somehow not solidify into uniformity as it did in the contemporary Egyptian culture.

EIV  5 - 30 * 7 mm
Not for sale

A bead made in silicified fossilized agate. Fossilized agate is rare.

Somehow the non-conformity of the Indus beads resonates with the notion of individuality as we understand it today.
In our contemporary western world, there is a new tendency not to show social power by golden uniformity, but by a self-styled avatar like performance of individuality. Therefore my prediction is that Rolex watches soon will be a social signifier showing the more advanced avatars who are not a member of their club. Of course, I have nothing against Rolex as such. I only use it as a metaphor for traditional branded status symbols.

EIV 6 - 28 * 12 * 11 mm

Yet another fossilized agate. However I am not quite sure if this is a fossil stone bead or not. Please feel free to contact me, If you have a comment.

There is a saying in the Konyak tribe: One bead necklace is equivalent to one Nepali slave.

Often cultural customs and behavior patterns in tribes can give us valuable information about our ancient past.
However in the Indus culture beads were most likely only meant as signifiers of social status in an emerging work and class divided society. Beads were most probably not used as money at this early stage in history. It was only after the decline of the Indus civilization that beads began to morph their way into the emerging monetary circulation systems.

EIV 7 - 30,5 * 12 mm

Fossilized corals in sandstone

Attractive, easy to carry & hard to find or make
The first prototypes of money needed to fulfill three functions: They had to be attractive, easy to carry and hard to find or make. Hence items such as shells and beads began to be used in exchange for commodities on a larger and more organized scale. In this sense, beads evolved from being primarily status objects into also fulfilling the need of 'cash' in the emerging affluent urban based trading economies on the Indo-Gangetic Plain in the post-Indus period.
Beads became Niksha, money in circulation systems similar to the much later use of trade beads in Africa.

EIV 8 - 28,5, 8 mm

Fossilized unknown material
maybe Jasper

Most probably bead-currency were used in the economic systems also after the rise of the first punch marked coins around 6. century B.C. An irony of history it is that history repeats itself in the way Sulemani and DZI beads nowaday are used to facilitate the Chinese in their parallel black & gray economies.

EIV  9 - 25,5, * 8 mm

Fosillized unknown material -
maybe jasper

Money beads cannot be individual
Now, why did I place these thoughts about beads as money in the Indus bead section? Indus beads were not used as money. In the context of the Indus beads I find especially the following observation of importance:
As soon as beads started to serve as money, they lost their individuality.
Due to the need for a currency that could be recognized in larger geographical areas and here reflect and measure 'abstract' value, they had to become look-alikes. The bead production had to down-prioritize beauty, rarity, and variety and instead become more uniform like shells. Here we most probably have the main reason why the astonishing variety of beads in the Indus period was substituted by the relative uniformity of the later mass produced beads.

EIV 10 - 17 * 11,5 mm

Agatized fossil patterns

Beads used as money also explain why there are so many beads as compared to the relative little number of humans on the planet at that time. From the period around 700 B.C. and the next 1000 years, we find a lot of beads. Even in spite the fact that 90% of the 'ancient' beads we see today are fakes, the remaining 10% are still quite massive in number! Now and then diggers even today sometimes finds 50 kg of ancient beads in one lot! The need of cash created an even mass production of beads pretty much in the same way as Ford started to mass produce look-alike cars in the 1930ties.
However... What you see here is not money beads.
These Indus beads are beads of art.

EIV 11 - 14 * 10 *7 mm

Agatized fossil patterns

As you can observe in the Remarkable ancient beads section there of course still were room for beads as social signifiers, as jewelry in later periods. These rare and individual beads however coexisted with an abundant mainstream of uniform beads, especially the sulemani and DZI type.

EIV 12 - 25 * 19 *  5,5 mm

Sandstone fossil ax bead

Below I proudly present my collection of super ancient long, thin bicone Indus Valley beads. Note that some of them, like the ones below, are created with an elliptical shape from the ends to the middle of the bead.
James W. Lankton writes in his book, "A Bead Timeline":

These striking beads were produced for a relatively short period following 2450 BCE.

High-status beads: long and slender in hard material
Long and slender bicone agate beads were more than anything else tough to make. I would often take more than 2 weeks of labor to make just one of these beads! Understood along the lines of social hierarchy this type of bead emerged in the equations between the growing need for social display of power and the evolution of bead making technology within groups of specialized workers from sourcing to manufacturing. Also, there must have been a quite well defined and most probably privileged group of merchants dealing with expertise to secure such an export quality uniformity that these beads display.
A super rare drill material: Ernestite
The drilling of such long holes was done with a cylindrical drill made out of an extremely rare type of metamorphic rock named Ernestite (after the archeologist Ernest Mackey) When the supply of Ernstite dried out, the making of these beads disappeared as well.


EIV 13  - 63 * 15 mm

Super Ancient Beads have more wrinkles & cracks

Most of the
Indus beads in this shape have small fractures and other kinds of damages. The reason is a combination of age, length and the type of holes. In general beads like humans get wrinkles with age. So it is only natural that a 5000-year-old bead will be marked by wear and tear. These specimens are however unusual long and slender. This in combination with the extra large holes makes them vulnerable as shown in the photo below. At the ends where the stone material becomes thin, these beads are prone to fractures. Quite a lot of long bicone Indus beads looks like shown in the photo below.


Fragile, broken beauties


However even in ancient times, these slender beads were so much in valued that they were repaired by cutting off the fractured end. Such a repair can be observed in the bead displayed below. It has ancient patina/earth coloring on the surface of the repair.



In these four beads (EIV 6 to 9) the hole has almost bigger volume than the actual stone material. EIV 6 is furthermore made of sandstone which makes it even more fragile. It is a wonder that this beauty has survived.

 EIV  14  - 30 *  7,5 mm - Go 2 banded sandstone section
Extremely rare intact banded soft sandstone bead
Not for sale

How come that we find long bicone soft limestone beads? It is a bad idea seen from the viewpoint of durability. Most probably these beads were mass produced as a lower social strata imitation of the rich man's display of wealth. Cheap imitations in terra cotta have been found in Nausharo. Such imitations in sandstone or other not-hard materials can be compared to a Chinese imitation Rolex watch. Today there are more of these copy watches than genuine Rolexes. However in 1000 years from now they, due to their low quality and durability, will be much rarer than the originals. This funny and lofty thought came to me while watching this vulnerable, but perfect sandstone bead above.

EIV 15  - 33,5  * 8 mm
  Banded hard agate. In the Indus area EIV 6 most probably served as a cheap copy of EIV 7. Today, however, a fragile bicone sandstone 'copy'-bead in perfect condition is much rarer than the original in agate.

The Indus bead makers loved to make beads with as many different colors as possible presented in one bead. This is clearly seen in the agate bead above. In the section
with Late Indus Valley beads, this tendency is also evident.

 EIV 16  - 35 * 9,5 mm
Not for sale
  Note the subtle red light in the center of the eye of the bead. (Click on the image for a larger version of the photo) Is the clear red light in the center coming from the presence of small precious stones in the center? It is not uncommon to find rubies within agate formations.

The Indus Valley people became masters in the art of bead making. I even dare to say that they, before the diamond drill was invented somewhere around 500 B.C., were the leading exporters of beads to the neighboring civilizations of the lucky latitude.

EIV 17  - 47 * 10,5 mm
  A beautiful large holed survivor in agate with an awesome crystal formation. This ancient beauty has furthermore been colored by the earth it has slept in.


EIV 18  - 55 * 15 m


EIV 19 - 53 * 14 mm


EIV 20 - 44 * 12 mm


EIV 21 - 44 * 12,5 mm


EIV 22  - 45 * 12 mm


EIV 23 - 39 * 10 mm


EIV 24 - 30,5 * 7 mm


EIV 25  - 29 * 6 mm
In this bead the volume of the hole exceeds the volume of the stone material!
The Indus Valley civilization dwarfed the parallel river civilizations, the Egyptian in the Nile Valley and the Mesopotamian between the Tigris and Euphrates. At its peak, the Indus Valley civilization is estimated to have encompassed one million km2, an area larger than Western Europe. 
A vastly expanded river culture
The Indus people did not possess the technology of digging wells and pumping water out from these wells with stone pulley wheels with strapped wooden pails. This technology was developed during the Vedic Age. They had specialized in irrigating their fields with flood water through the making of channels. River plains and areas close to rivers became their home. This might be the main reason for the vast expansion of their culture. They had to follow the rivers, not cultivating areas too far away and hence out of reach for flood irrigation.
The Indus people turned deserts into gardens due to the extraordinary collective achievement of river taming. Where the Egyptians constructed pyramids, the Indus people created water reservoirs and water channels on a such a scale that it stands unrivaled till today if one compares it through historically calibrated eyes.

EIV 26 - 53 * 14,5 mm
This expansion gave fuel to long distance trade and finally made the Indus civilization reach an almost industrial output level.
The 'empire' was therefore naturally glued together through waterways. The Indus people became sailors and commanded large fleets of ships making it possible to flourish in the vast river plains, coastal areas, and adjacent regions. They had extensive trade with Mesopotamia and exported goods such as beads, cotton cloth, beads, ceramics, copper, and bronzeware. Here especially stone beads with designs on demand were shipped westward. According to Mark Kenoyer there even was a settlement of Indus craftsmen in Mesopotamia.

EIV 27  - 27 * 7,5 mm

Awesome urban-planning
Between 3 to 5 million people, around half of the world's population at that time lived in this vast civilization.

Such large populations required new ways of living. The Indus people were among the first to concentrate in mega-cities. These cities were created out of preplanned administrative thoughts, thoughts that most probably grew out of the need for taming rivers to have sufficient and steady water supply for such large populations.

EIV 28  - 58 * 14 mm
This is not a bead, but an ancient mystery Indus talisman made in jasper and copper.

They constructed perfect waterways, drainage and sewerage systems in cities built out of uniformly sized bricks. Houses were oriented to catch the wind to provide for a natural air condition. Streets, multi-storied houses and other constructions like public baths were perpendicular set in relation to each other. They could even be divided into each other by the measurement of one of their standardized building bricks.

EIV  29 - 34,5 * 9 mm

It is evident that the eye motif is happening much more than what could be explained by accidental formations in the stone.

These mega-cities had a natural demand for huge inflow of food and outflow of goods, that seems to have happened through regulated commerce. The massive walls built around the Indus cities were not meant for military protection but for the purpose of trade regulation. There are no archeological signs of warfare buried in these walls. In more than 2000 years the Indus people lived without wars. Somehow they found other ways of dissolving social conflicts.

EIV 30  - 34 * 7 mm

Again and again, the eye in the bead is watching you and protecting you from evil.

Greater India was the bead maker to the world

Now, what has all this to do with beads?
The Indus people has left a treasure for us to admire: their unique beads!
I will here give the word to Peter Francis:

More than any other land India has been "bead maker to the world."
The Beads of India - Peter Francis

I dare to say that most stone beads older than 1000 BCE are in fact made in this Greater India or by Indian craftsmen or by people taught by these artisans. Ancient stone bead making is in this respect a part of the Indian historical identity, and it is odd that Indians themselves have not discovered this important fact.

Now, what were these people thinking? What kind of Big Thoughts did they have?

My question is:
What kind of social glue did they use? What was the nature of their narratives?

A few things I can say for sure. They appreciated beauty and individuality. Their beads are beautiful and individual. They all seem to stand out. The Indus people did not go for uniformity.

This stands in stark contrast to the favorite ancient beads of the Chinese today. As the Chinese themselves none of these beads dare to be different. Yes - I am talking of the DZI-beads.

But back to the Indus topic:
Only an adamant social binding cohesion would be able to create such an affluent mega-civilization able to house and feed such a huge population in such an early historic period.


EIV  31 - 33 * 9,5 mm

Great care has been taken in cutting many of these stones so as to get special effects from the natural structure of the stone, white or colored bands being arranged to form 'eyes' , 'zones' or chevrons, all of which may have had special meanings. (
Beads from Taxilla, Horace Beck - p.8)

The elephants of King Porus
Anyone who has lived in India for a longer period, as I have done, will come to know that the tradition of oral storytelling is still very much alive as compared to the almost extinct traditions in the west. I once in Punjab heard a man offend another man by telling him, that he was no better than the elephants of King
Parvateshwar (Porus).

EIV 32  - 29,5 * 9 mm
Who am 'eye'?

I asked him what he meant by that expression. He told me that in Punjab it is common to characterize a man, who like the elephants of King Porus does a lot of impressive trumpeting, but falls down flat when it comes to a real test as the case were when King Porus elephants had to confront Alexanders army. This saying is, as far as I know, not from books. It has been handed down orally from the days of Alexander and is still alive as a part of the identity in the area.

EIV 33  - 33 * 9 mm

The Indian time machine
The cultural identity of the Indians is adamant. Indians have in contrast to other cultures a strange ability to be modern and conservative at the same time. Indian women still wear saris and bangles. They celebrate ancient mythological events in the same passionate way as they adore cricket. They love Mc Donald, but first after changing the burger into something that is very far away from the original American concept. The middle-class Indians have TV's in all their rooms, but they watch their own homegrown serials.

EIV  34 - 24 * 8 mm

Many of them have never heard of the Beatles. They have their Bollywood heroes and heroines. I once met a Nobel-winning Indian scientist, who claimed to be an incarnation of a Danish man. This man is reflecting a strange fact about India: that one historical period does not erase the ones that were there before, even more so when it comes to the soul of the people. Not even the Muslem invasion managed to do that. In contemporary India find a myriad of religious traditions from almost every historical period.

 EIV  35  - 27 * 6,5 mm


This bead has like many of the beads from this collection been colored by chemicals in the earth.
However this in some cases create
even more beautiful beads.

Some are performing Vedic fire rituals, and some renounce the world like the ancient Rishis, some gather in great crowds to worship Krishna. I could go on forever with examples. The social fragmentation created by the cast system further adds to the diversification and paradoxically even amplifies the inherited traditions in the sense that the caste identity is preserved through the uniqueness of the rituals. India is a time machine.

ndian tribal woman - note her ancient tatoo

Indus Valley seal & ancient etched bead

Imagination is more powerful than knowledge - (Einstein)
I believe that the answer to my question concerning the nature of the social binding cohesion of the Indus culture does not necessarily need to wait for us decipher the Indus Valley script. The answer or at least a hint is there - in India here and now. It is still alive in the midst of the crowded streets of Main Bazar in New Delhi, where I took the picture above of a tribal woman. The symbol she has tattooed on her throat can be found on Indus Valley seals and ancient beads.



EIV 36 - 93 * 12,5 mm


EIV 37 - 65 * 25 * 21,5 mm


EIV 38  - 62 * 14 mm

Because of the Indians vital ancient memory I 'intuite' that India still today has some vital strings of 'civilizatoric' DNA, that we might need to overcome some of the challenges we globally face today. These strings of cultural DNA contain vital information about social cohesion forces that we need to rediscover and implement in a society that is falling apart due to egocentric and greedy behavior. This ancient social glue will however not come to work without a little help from dream and imagination.   

EIV  39 -
54,5 * 14,5 mm

Krishna on the razor's edge
The Indians have a mythological narrative that has inspired me to think along these lines. When the world is falling apart due to evil, the God Vishnu will incarnate, not to entirely to expel evil but to restore the balance. Vishnu is not 'good' in our western concept, as even contemporary Indians tend to see him through the window of British influence.


EIV  40 - 47 * 14 mm

The concept of Vishnu was far closer to the Taoist thought of Ying and Yang, where Tao is seen as the balance between opposite forces: This concept is much more refined as compared to the western construction of a polarity between pure good and pure evil.


EIV  41 - 55 * 18 mm

In this sense, many of the Indian gods have duality within them. They are like Kali with her beautiful eyes and bloody teeth not only being embodiments of the ultimate good. God has two hands, and it is the responsibility of the individual to find the balance between them.


EIV 42  - 44 * 17 mm

Even without having any religious notions of God it gives a lot of sense to observe existence, from the laws of physics to the rise and fall of civilizations, as ultra hair fine dynamic balance points between opposite forces. On the level of the Higgs field, the Universe can only exist on a knife edge. In this impossible and ever flowing balance point, even the poorest illiterate Indian would cry out: Krishna always wins.


EIV 43  - 45 * 19 mm
At first glance, this bead gives the impression of being an ugly fellow.
However, its scarred surface combined with its size and the unusual color
of the stone makes it in my view a power bead.


As the case with the Higgs field, Vishnu even in the form of virtue, always wins following the narrative pathway of every good movie: in the very end and the closest race possible. Only here Shivas cosmic yet fragile dance on the razor's edge can be re-balanced.

EIV  44 - 45 * 14 mm

It is here worth noting that two of the most famous incarnations of Vishnu, Krishna, and Rama, both were royal. They were kings. They were, however, Kings of War, which in my opinion make their narratives less ancient as the peaceful Indus culture. However, I see them as pointers towards the Indus period in the sense that these two incarnations were virtuous royal upholders of social balance.


EIV  45 - 38 * 13 mm

Pyramids of power
The very shape of a pyramid can be seen as an architectural projection of the social stratifications of the ancient Egyptian society. Egypt was a war oriented and strictly hierarchical society. In contrast, the Indus civilization managed to flourish for around 2000 years without wars, violence and parasitic elites.


EIV  46  - 42 * 15 mm

Instead of building pyramids to facilitate the imaginary afterlife of a single individual, the Indus people created cities with a ´flat´ architecture with almost no 'out-standing' buildings for private housing.


EIV  47 - 40 * 14 * 11 mm


In a city with 'equal' buildings, one must assume that the people living there were more or less equal too. The largest and most important constructions were huge water reservoirs and public baths. I cannot help seeing these public baths as symbolic social equalizers where naked people merged in the water as one being. Still today one can observe the Indian collectively performed ritual adoration of water at the ghats of Varanasi.


EIV  48 - 35 * 25 * 8 mm


The Indus Elite & the Priest-King

The Indus civilization was however not functioning without an elite. The King-priest from Harappa displays a face of a mature and responsible leader. 

As a scientist, I would not even be allowed to
state, that this is a priest and/or a king. However,
as a dreamer using the power of imagination, I
allow myself to extrapolate evidence a little further.



EIV 49  - 36 * 12 mm

Variegated Jasper and unusual forms of agate

n these rare ancient Indus beads one will often find what is referred to as variegated jasper.

As mentioned in the other section of Indus beads, the Indus people adored Jasper.
Variegated Jasper was the favorite gemstone of the Indus and Mesopotamian people.


The many terra cotta goddesses found in Indus sites show fertile women with precious ornaments and dresses don't give room for dreams of an ancient Indus-utopian socialism without social divisions. Also, the Indus burial grounds do reflect a kind of social hierarchy in the sense that women with thicker working bangles were placed at one end of the burial ground and women with thinner bangles not suitable for work were placed at the other end.

EIV  50 - 35 * 10 mm - gifted away


In this type of Jasper, there are up to 20 percent non-quartz elements.

These elements account or the wide range of colors and patterns. In this sense, jasper demonstrates a larger capacity for variation
than agate. This is clearly shown
in the bead to the left.


However, apart from beads, we don't find extravagantly constructed graves full of gold and other extreme symbols of status as compared to the Egyptian aristocratic graves. This for me points towards a kind of society that was not as social polarized as the Mesopotamian and Egyptian.


EIV  51 - 38 * 11 mm

The patterns in agate are as a general rule following harmonious geometric rules. Jasper beads, on the other hand, are more unpredictable showing resemblance to abstract modern art.


The virtuous leader
In contemporary India, we alongside greed and extreme social polarization can find ancient pointers towards an entirely different elitarian ideology as the one we all too often face today on a global scale.

One day at sunrise, after his morning ablution in the waters of the Saraswati, Srila Vyasadeva sat down to meditate. The great Sage saw certain anomalies in the fiber of the millennium... He foresaw that the life of everything material would be cut short for lack of virtue. Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.4.15-18


EIV 52 - 37 * 12 mm

For me, this ancient jasper bead with crystalline formations can be viewed as a modern abstract art painting.

These beads are furthermore appealing to the notion of 'individuality.

The introverted half closed eyes of the Harappan King suggest that he is a leader looking for answers inside himself. He could very well be a Saint as well as a King. He seems to be modest in his use of dress and gold. The keynote of a society is set by its leaders. When leaders are corrupt, their subjects will follow their example. When leaders on the other hand are governed by virtue and moral, their example will copy itself out in the furthest corner of the kingdom and affect even the way a poor man treats a dog.

EIV  53 - 36,5 * 10,5 mm

Each one stands out as different.
I never have difficulties identifying one of these grand old Indus beads when I have to find them in my huge collection.

Societies can be created out of violence and/or strictly hierarchic religious organizations, dominating not bodies with the monopoly of violence, but through imaginary narratives instigating psychological fear. Societies can also, as our western world seem to, at least temporary, flourish in and by greed - in our case corporate multinational greed.
However, there seems to be yet another glue that can create and uphold societies.
That glue I call virtue.

EIV 54 - 35 * 11,5 mm




EIV 55 - 31 * 11 mm




EIV 56  - 33 * 13 mm




EIV 57 - 38 * 14 * 11,5 mm




EIV 58  - 30 * 11 mm




EIV 59 - 37,5 * 10,5 mm




EIV 60 - 36,5 * 11 mm




EIV  61 - 39 * 9,5 mm




EIV  62 - 36 * 9 mm




EIV  63 - 31,5 * 12 * 10 mm




EIV 64 - 61 * 12,5 mm
All of the 24 Thirtankas were sons of Kings!
Now we can start counting the 24 generations Jain Thirtanka princes backward, beginning from around 600 BC. 24 generations equal roughly a period of 700 years which brings us very close to the Indus Valley civilization or at least to the collective memory of it. The stronghold of Jainism is in Gujarat where the Indus civilization survived for a longer period than it did further west. The first of the Thirtankas was named Rishab Dev. Rishab Dev is another name for Shiva, the Indus god of meditation.

Shiva - Pashupati - sitting in a meditation
posture  controlling the animals ...
around him - and in him



Virtue was in ancient Indians connected with seva, a Sanskrit root word for service. This Seva did not begin in the subjects devotional service towards their King, but the other way round. A leader had to set the example of righteous living for his citizens. He had to walk the 'Gandhian' talk.

EIV  65 - 30,5 * 11 mm


How to overcome the potential danger of greed's ability to dissolve the social glue of a highly organized society? It is done through leading by example. When the great Buddhist king Ashoka renunciated his vast empire and became a wandering beggar monk, he was just walking his talk along an ancient path that several Kings had done before him. Prince Siddharta did it and became the Buddha. The contemporary Jain Mahavira did it. Mahavira was the last out of 24 Thirtankas who did it.

EIV  66 - 24 * 9 mm

Why is Buddha signified by his long earlobes? It is because they are the very signs that he is not an ordinary Tom, Harry or Dick beggar. Buddha was Prince Siddharta, and his earlobes had become elongated due to the Kingly custom of wearing huge golden ornaments in the ears.

Note the similarity between this King's head
ornament and that of the Indus Priest-king.


EIV  67 - 27 * 10 mm
When a poor man renounces the world, nobody cares. What has he after all to renounce? However, when a King does it and steps down from his throne, it has a tremendous effect on the whole of society. Can you imagine what would happen if you saw the executives of Monsanto together with Donald Trump as beggar monks in the streets of New York?

EIV  68 - 38 * 10 mm

The man of power and wealth can afford to give his renunciation as a choice. Indian mythology is full of praising stories about Kings who renounced their Kingdoms and became beggar monks. This ancient Indian ideal trickled down the whole of society and even made it a cultural ritual for an ordinary man to renounce the world when his children had grown up and married.
I dare to say it is virtue in its purest form.


EIV  69 - 36 * 14 mm


Meditation and virtue
Let us return to the meditating Shiva. In ancient India, the ideal of meditation was an ideal of virtue. Meditation had to be virtuous, and virtue on the other side had to be cultivated in meditation. This connection is clearly seen in the above quotation from


EIV  70 - 21,5 * 7,5 mm


EIV  71 - 15 * 7 mm - SOLD
, according to mythology, saints gained tremendous powers through their meditation practice and then fell for the temptation of using this power for fulfilling personal needs instead of seva to the whole. The many stories connected to this theme shows how ancient India was focusing on virtue to such an extent that it rivals the very best parts and periods of Christianity.


EIV 72  - 44,5 * 26,5 * 7,5 mm

I cannot help dreaming when I think about the ancient Indus Valley civilization. Because dreams are nourished by mysteries and the Indus script is (thank god) yet not deciphered. I am therefore in the absence of knowledge able to in an act of post-modern magic ritual, to choose to adore the Indus culture as an utopia as compared with today's unfortunate social polarization with a microscopic percentage of super rich and a dwindling middle class on its way down a drainage that soon will over flood - both metaphorically and practically speaking. I don't mind rich people! However, most are rich, not due to generosity, but due to greed.

EIV 73  - 37,5 * 10,5 mm
One of my absolute favorite beads! It clearly demonstrates that the Indus people searched for the sublime bead, not only within the realms of Jasper but also in agate. However in agate patterns, at least in my eyes, the concept of
Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram is evoked.

Multinational corporate greed eats smaller states for breakfast while war seems to be a better business than ever. I love to look for future possibilities in the past. Our ancient history provides a window where we can mirror lofty visions for the future. In the entire span of history, the Indus valley culture is the only mega civilization that found other ways of resolving conflicts than through war and aggression.

EIV  74 - 33 * 125 mm - SOLD

In the western culture, nothing comes closer to the notion of Satyam, Shivam Sundaram than the Romantic concept of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness.

In the more than 1000 sites yet discovered, we find no evidence of war and only a few almost toy-like weapons. The first archeologist to uncover Indus sites thought that they had found a civilization inhabited only by children. In India, we can still get a little glimpse of these ways of peace in the behavior of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent concept of ahimsa of Jain's, Hindus and Buddhists.

EIV 75  - 33 * 9 mm
Not for sale

I have personally little doubt that the idea of creating and seeing intended symbols primary evolved in agate beads. To create and see eyes and other symbols of long forgotten meanings is easier in agate, simply because the geometric patterns in agate are more uniform and harmonious.

This Golden Age of the Indus Valley Culture is mirrored in the sublime beads you can enjoy below. These ancient beads tell the story of a culture that in it’s own way was excelling from the macro world of urban life to the miniature world of beads. As the Indus people were able to create perfect cities they also did create perfect beads.


EIV  76 - 29 * 9 mm

In agate, the longing for Virtue is expressed in symmetry. As above, so below. The divine harmony is expressed on earth in the perfect symmetric bead. The eye, as I prefer to understand these obviously intended motifs, is here the portal of consciousness.

For me, an Indus bead is an ultimate symbol of peace and the belief that it is possible to share wealth. I choose to regard them as concentration tools for cultivating a Meditation that cultivates Virtue. Cooperation and not cooperate greed will make utopias gravitate towards us. You might say that I am a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. New beginnings start with dreaming them.

EIV  77 - 27,5 * 7,5 mm

The watchful eye is the observer that by virtue of the observation itself creates order out of chaos.
A human being is as consciousness a manifestation of the highest order. This order is the anti-thesis of the third law of thermodynamics.



EIV 78  - 25,5 * 12,5 mm





EIV 79 - 29,5 * 12 mm





EIV 80 - 37 * 10 * 9 mm





EIV 81 - 35,5 * 11,5 mm





EIV  82 - 34 * 16 mm


This inbuilt longing for order established in consciousness includes the chaos/destruction of Shiva. We fear destruction, and hence we do not get the viewpoint of Shiva. Shiva's destruction is necessary for creating the order of the future.
In this sense everything is as the bead to the left: Perfectly Imperfect



EIV 83 - 22 * 16,5 * 7 mm




EIV  84 - 42 * 15 mm
Oyster shell formed Indus Bead of immense beauty

EIV 85  - 42 * 15 mm

EIV  86 - 21,5 * 17 * 6 mm

EIV  87 - 42 * 15 mm


EIV 88  - 42 * 15 mm

EIV  89 - 21 * 19 * 7 mm

EIV  90 -  19 * 8 * 4 mm  nyt billede



EIV  91 - 11-13 * 5 mm



EIV 92 - 26,5 * 12 mm

EIV 93 - 23 * 10 mm


EIV 94 - 30,5 * 11 mm

EIV  95 - 24 * 8 mm


EIV 96  -  28 * 10,5 mm

EIV 97 - 26,5 * 9,5 mm


EIV  98 - 25 * 10 mm

EIV  99 - 23 * 10 * 9 mm


EIV 100 - 25 * 10 mm

EIV 101 - 19 * 10 mm


EIV 102 - 19,5 * 6,5 mm

EIV 103 - 21,5 * 7 mm


EIV 104 - 19,5 * 8 mm

EIV 105 - 17 * 8,5 mm


EIV  106 - 18,5 * 8,5 mm

EIV 107 - 16,5 * 7,5 mm


EIV 108 - 20 * 8 mm

EIV 109 - 21 * 7 mm


EIV 110 - 15 * 6,5 mm

EIV 111 - 15 * 6 mm


EIV 112  - 17 * 5,5 mm

EIV 113 - 18 * 6,5 mm - SOLD


EIV 114 - 23,5 * 9 mm

EIV  115 - 24 * 9 mm


EIV 116 - 23,5 * 10,5 mm

EIV 117  - 23,5 * 10 mm


EIV 118 - 22 * 8,5 mm


EIV 119 - 22 * 10 mm


EIV 120 - 23,5 * 7,5 mm

EIV 121  - 22 * 10,5 mm


EIV 122 - 19,5 * 10 mm

EIV 123 - 20 * 8 mm


EIV 124 - 21,5 * 7 mm

EIV 125 - 18 * 8 mm


EIV 126 - 18,5 * 7 mm

EIV 127 - 14,5 * 6 mm


EIV 128 - 17 * 10,5 * 7 mm

EIV 129 - 17,5 * 10 * 6,5 mm


EIV 130  - 14,5 * 8,5 * 5,5 mm

EIV 131  - 14 * 9 * 7 mm


EIV  132 - 23 * 7,5 mm

EIV  133 - 26,5 * 8 mm


EIV  134 - 21 * 10 mm

EIV  135 - 24,5 * 7 mm


EIV 136 - 24 * 8 mm

EIV 137 - 19 * 10 mm


EIV 138 - 26,5 * 7 mm


EIV 139  - 30 * 8,5 mm

EIV  140 - 31 * 10 mm


EIV  141 - 32 * 10 mm

EIV 142 - 30 * 10 mm


EIV 143  - 28 * 9 mm

EIV  144 - 27 * 10,5 mm


EIV  145 - 27,5 * 9 mm

EIV  146 - 26 * 8 mm


EIV  147 - 24 * 10,5 * 7,5 mm

EIV  148 - 22 * 10 mm


EIV 149 - 22 * 9 mm

EIV  150 - 27 * 10 mm


EIV  151 - 14,5 * 7,5 mm

EIV 152 - 20 * 8,5 mm


EIV 153  - 15 * 7,5 mm

EIV  154 - 15 * 7 mm


EIV  155 - 21 * 7,5 mm

EIV  156 - 19 * 8,5 mm


EIV 157  - 20 * 8,5 mm



EIV 158  - 44 * 11 mm


EIV 159  - 40;5 * 12 mm


EIV  160 - 37,5 * 18,5 mm


EIV  161 - 37 * 11,5 mm


EIV 162  - 34 * 14 mm


EIV  163 - 40,5 * 15 mm


EIV 164  - 39 * 8 * 9,5 mm


EIV  165 - 35 * 13,5 mm


EIV 166  - 26,5 * 9,5 mm


EIV 167  - 27,5 * 8 mm

In the early Indus Valley age, it was a difficult task to drill and shape an agate bead. Alone out of this reason one have to marvel at the long bicone and slender agate beads made in this period. A much more easy and accessible bead making material was banded limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock. It is mostly composed of different crystal forms of calcium carbonate known as calcite and aragonite. Its hardness on the Moh scale is between 3 and 4.
One can assume that the ancient Indus people chose the hardest types of limestone for their bead making. However, the lack of hardness as compared to agate or jasper has made the beads extremely fragile. The softness of the stone combined with the large holes has made it vulnerable to time. Only a few specimens have survived up to our era. 


 EIV 168  - 30 *  7,5 mm
Not for sale

The bead displayed above is my favorite among the limestone samples. It banding is beautiful showing typical limestone colors. It is in perfect condition in spite of the fact that it has a larger volume of hole than of stone!
This bead is a true survivor against all the odds! I would only part with it to an individual who has had the same destiny.


EIV  169 - 33,5 * 11 mm
Yellow brown
banded limestone -
most probably from
the Pachcham

The banded limestone used in these outstanding ancient beads was most probably sourced from Gujarat:

Banded limestone is another rock that was transported from its source in Gujarat to Harappan Sites deep within the Indus Valley. The particular variety I am referring to occurs in the Pachcham formation - a zone of Jurassic sedimentary rock exposed on several islands on the southern edge of the Great Rann of Kachch. Dholavira, which is located on Khadir island, was largely constructed of blocks and slabs composed of this distinctive yellow-brown banded, sand-textured limestone.  The Important Stone and Metal resources of Gujarat during the Harappan Period. Randall Law



EIV 170  - 42,5 * 13 mm

The Indus limestone beads do not have the same hypnotic shine as agate or jasper beads. However, they have their own more discrete world of magic. The patterns in limestone beads are slightly different from the other bead materials. They follow other rules of 'sedimentary mathematics' as you can observe in the bead above.


EIV  171 - 39 * 11 mm

 As one can observe in these beads, they also display another variety of colors than other bead materials. For the color sensitive individual, an ancient sandstone bead might even be of greater interest than the more expressive agate and jasper beads.


EIV  172 - 33 * 10 mm



EIV  173 - 37,5 * 12,5 mm


EIV  174 - 36 * 11 mm


EIV 175  - 32 * 9 mm

EIV 176  - 32 * 9 mm




EIV  177 - 24 * 8,5 mm

EIV 178 - 23 * 8,5 mm




EIV  179 - 25 * 9 mm





EIV 180  - 30 * 10 mm

EIV 181  - 30 * 9,5 mm




EIV 182  - 30 * 10 * 11 mm

EIV  183 - 27 * 10,5 mm




EIV 184  - 26 * 8 mm

EIV 185 - 25 * 8,5 mm




EIV  186 - 25,5 * 8 mm

EIV  187 - 22,5 * 8 * 7 mm




EIV  188 - 27 * 9 mm

EIV 189  - 26 * 9 mm




EIV  190 - 27 * 10 mm

EIV  191 - 27 * 10 mm




EIV  192  - 28 * 10 mm

EIV  193 - 29 * 10 mm




EIV 194  - 33 * 9.5 mm

EIV  195 - 22,5 * 8 mm




EIV  196 - 19 * 8 mm

EIV  197 - 18,5 * 8 mm




EIV  198 - 14,5 * 7 mm

EIV  199 - 15 * 6 mm




EIV 200  - 17 * 6 mm

EIV 201  - 20 * 5 mm




EIV 202  - 29 * 8 mm

EIV  203 - 19,5 * 8,5 mm




EIV  204 - 21 * 8 mm





EIV 205  - 39 * 11 mm


EIV  206 - 73,5 * 12 mm


EIV  207 - 34 * 29 * 8,5 mm


EIV  208 - 37 * 27,5 * 8 mm

The beads displayed below are not from Rakhigarhi. They sourced from further west. Most probably the are from the older parts of the Indus Valley civilization located in Pakistan like Harappa.Note that the holes are even larger than in the above section. They are made of Amazonite, most probably either from Gujarat from Orissa. Indus amazonite beads are very rare.


   EIV-GT 1  -   18 * 7 mm


EIV-GT 2  -   18 * 8 mm


EIV-GT 3   -   16 * 6 mm 


 EIV- GT 4  -  

Elongated Cylinder Carnelian Beads

EIV-T 1   - 29 * 7 mm


EIV-T 2   - 20 * 8 mm


EIV-T 3   - 25 * 8 mm


IV-T 4   - 20 * 7 mm


EIV-T 5   - 19 * 7 mm


EIV-T 6   - 20 * 8 mm


EIV-T 7   - 18 * 8 mm


EIV-T 8   - 20 * 7 mm


EIV- T 9    -   16 * 5,5 mm 


EIV-T 10    -   23 * 6 mm


EIV- T 11 -   15 * 7 mm


EIV-T 12   -   14 * 7 mm


EIV-T 13   -   14 * 5,5 mm

Strange Indus Valley Terra Cotta Eye Bead


EIV-OIV 1 - 40 * 25 * 21 mm

Click on picture for larger image


An absolutely unique and very strange jet stone cobra snake Eye Bead.
Origin: Indus Valley Haryana - Greater India
Read about Eye Beads here

Bead from Mohenjo Daro

EIV-TBA 16   - 17 * 5 mm - SOLD


What a masterpiece this little bead is! There is more hole than bead stone. This bead was
found by my friend Professor Bhandari when he as a young boy, before partition 1947 together with his school class was visiting Mohenjo Daro   


Here you can see the bead in high resolution: Picture 1  -  

Indus Valey Eye seal Beads


Click on picture for larger image


Here is a small display of Indus Valley carnelian beads. You can find more of these in the Carnelian bead section.

EIV-OIV 15 -  Largest: 16 * 10 mm - : 8 * 6 mm 


EIV-OIV 16  -  A unique translucent pendant bead




Rakhigarhi, Jagadhari, Yamuna Nagar