VARIOUS ANCIENT BEADS
On this page there will be a display of various categories of ancient beads.

As shown in the chapter Ancient Bead Production various methods, especially heat treatment were used to alter the color or darken the stone. These treatments often made the crystalline layers or banding more prominent, because the sugar or honey used in the process could not enter these layers. This often enhanced the appearance of naturally occurring eyes and stripes as you can see in the beads displayed below. 
 

Many of the
beads
are for sale

Inquire
through
bead ID
for price

 



 
 VAB 1 - 30 * 11 mm 

 

  
A rare ancient banded agate bead from the Himalayas - the play of colors in these beads is unique! Unfortunately my scanner is not able to display the full translucent shine in this bead.
Himmachal Pradesh - Ram Shehar near Nalagarh - India
 
 



 
 VAB  2 - 30 * 10 mm
 




 
 



  
 VAB  4 - 30 * 13 mm
 



 
 




VAB 5  - 29 * 9,5 mm
 

   




28 * 9 mm
 VAB 6 - SANAT
 

   




30 * 10 mm
 VAB 7 - SANAT
 

   




28 * 8,5 mm
 VAB 8 - SANAT
 

   




28 * 8,5 mm
 VAB 9 - SANAT
 

 



VAB 10 - IND-CL 2  - 23 * 18 * 9 mm
 

   



VAB 11 - IND-CL 3  - 24 * 14,5 * 8 mm
 

   



 

   



 VAB  13 - 11 * 7 mm
 



 
 


        
VAB  15  -  a: 16,5 * 6,5             b: 14 * 6                   c: 15 * 6

I love these small multicolored ancient agate beads! I have named them The Trinity of Triratna.
 



 
 




 VAB  16 - 11 * 10 * 3 mm

A small but very beautiful brownish translucent banded agate bead

 


Lapis Lazuli seal beads from Nepal
Displayed below you can see some very unique seal beads in a very high quality of lapis Lazuli. The bead to the left has a typical motive from the ancient city Patan, the Buddhist Wind Horse. As Wikipedia point out the Wind Horse has served as a symbol for the human soul in the shamanistic tradition of East Asia and Central Asia. The bead to the right displays a King doing a sacrificial religious ritual.
 
 


         
VAB 17 A   -  32 * 28 * 5 mm  -  17 B 
(17A is SOLD)
 


The
backside of these remarkable Lapis lazuli Seal Seads from Patan displays a Buddhist lotus motive going back to reign of Malla Kings (before 1768). My guess is that this motive is typical for the clan of Sakya Newar Buddhist from Patan. Also the Wind Horse motive points towards the Nevar Buddhist culture of Patan in the sense that the Wind Horses displayed as statues in Patan also have wings like we can observe on the bead.
 
 




B
ackside of the beads
 
Click on pictures for larger image


Windhorse from Patan


 



ANCIENT JASPER BEADS
 
 




 VAB  18 - 26 * 17 mm
Click on picture for larger image
 


Ancient red jasper bead with crystal banding

Displayed above you can enjoy the color play in a wonderful deep red ancient jaspe
r bead with two crystalline bands.
 
 


Ancient Jasper disk beads
 
 





VABJ  19 - average size 7* 2 mm

 



 
 





VABJ  20 - left : cornerless cube 10,5 * 10,5 mm

 



 
 



Ancient Green Jasper Beads

VABJ  21 Largest piece: 16 * 10mm - Smallest piece: 10 * 5 mm 
Period: From Indus Valley Culture 3000-1500 BC to 1000 AD


VABJ 22 - Click on picture for larger image

In this little collection of polygonal green jasper beads we find
quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon and corner less cube forms.


 



The ancient tabular agate beads displayed below are from Haryana, India.
 
 


 Large round tabular beads

VAB 23   -   28 * 6 mm                                               23 * 5 mm                       
 



 
 





VAB   24 - 25 * 6 mm
Caramel jasper Bead

 



WHITE BELLY BEADS
 





VABBELLY 1 - Bead in the button: 19 * 11 mm


 

These white belly beads are from the late Indus period.



FRACTAL BEADS
 






 

FRB 1 - 53 * 39,5 * 12 mm - I call this bead Africa

The patterns in the above and below bead are fractal. The same is true for landscapes and continents. With a little imagination I can see Africa or South America in the central motif in both beads. In the left eye formation I see a person with crossed legs in Meditation. My conclusion on a meta level: I am a fractal. It takes a fractal to know one.

 
 





 

FRB 2  - 38 * 15 mm - I call this bead The Fractality of Me







AN ANCIENT ENGRAVED MESSAGE
 





 

VAB-ENGR - 39 * 20 * 9 mm - I call this bead The Cheetah


I have chosen to display the above bead because there is an animal engraved in the bead. This is very very rare. I have only seen one other Indus bead with an engrave. It displays a bull motif and belongs to Mr. Tira in Bangkok. You  can see it here:

The animal shown on RB 8 cannot be identified with certainty. However due to its long tail it resembles a predator, in which case it most probably would be be a cheetah.


Terra cotta - Quetta, Pakistan
 
The cheetah can as the only member of the family
of the big cats, be tamed. Note the rope around
the neck of the cheetah. The Indus people used
domesticated cheetahs for the purpose of hunting.
 

 

 
FROM THE LARGEST TO THE SMALLEST


The Royal Insignia Bead
 

*


    

   
Click on pictures for larger image

 

ROYALB 1  -  74 * 64 * 36 mm -  I have named this colossal bead The King Bead.

From one extreme to the other...
 
The bead above is a highly unusual bead. I guess this is the only one of its kind. Note how the color of the backside of the bead has been changed by generations of contact with human skin. I would call this a wonderful patina made by sweat of Kings.

This remarkable bead does not stand out because of its patterns or due to variations in color. On the contrary it is uniform. However here the pure and even material becomes a virtue in itself. Such a large pattern less Chrysoprase, without any change is in itself an almost impossible find!
The beautiful green stone is in itself a rare gem. Only in the most rare cases you will find a pure even and homogeneous Chrysoprase stone in this size!

The shape of this unique ancient bead forms an abstract stylized tortoise. This is no coincidence. The tortoise is an incarnation of the god Vishnu, the God that upholds the balance on earth and in human civilizations, and this is exactly the task for the good king. My guess is that this huge bead has served as a Royal Insignia worn by a line of Hindu Kings somewhere in ancient India. This can be substantiated by the ancient text Brihatsamhita that states that a King should keep a tortoise as an auspicious sign.
(Distinctive Beads in Ancient India, Maurya Jyotsna p.47)





The Mesopotamian Mystery ... The worlds smallest 3-eyed bead?
 





RB 12 - 8,5 * 3,5 * 2,5 mm













 


How strange it may sound... I found this tiny 3-eyed bead in a plastic bag of broken beads that followed a lot of Indus beads I purchased in Bangkok. On the photo above you can see the content of the bag including this tiny eye bead. The bead is in such good condition that it even could pass the test of being examined by Chinese eyes.
I have never seen such a bead before. It was indeed a mystery. However the solution
came when I at the Bangkok bead fair 2017 observed similar beads on a bead timeline board made by
Li Yu, MA, lecturer at Sichuan University and Han Muzhe, PHD student, Central China Normal University. They explained to me that this type of tiny eye beads were manufactured in ancient Mesopotamia and then exported to the Indus Valley. This tiny 3-eyed bead reminds me of the very small steatite beads, often not more than on millimeter, found in Harappa. These almost microscopic beads show extraordinary skill and patience in their manufacture, a skill similar to the one used in the eye bead above.

 I have baptized this bead: The Mesopotamian Mystery
 



 

 


Ancient Jet Stone Beads

 
VAB  25 -  26 * 16 mm (big piece)
 Jet Stone Beads
Period: Indus Culture 3000 - 1500 BC
Origin: Afghanistan
 
 



 
 


Ancient Torquoise Beads
 

VAB   26  -  Top left: 19 * 8 mm
Click on picture for larger image


7 * 6 mm - SOLD


 



 
 

 
Old Turquoise Beads


VAB  27  - 19 * 16 * 12 mm
Old but not ancient Turquoise beads from Morocco
Click on picture for larger image



VAB   28 -  33 * 26 * 8 mm
Very old turquoise from Nepal



VAB  29 - 17 * 14 mm
 Unknown origin


 


 
The bead displayed below is not ancient. This wonderful lapis lazuli pendant bead is 'only' around 3-400 years old. The great Mogul Emperor Akbar made coins in this shape in the 16th Century, and since then this shape has become synonymous with Akbar's great reign. Akbar was together with the Buddhist King Ashoka, maybe the greatest King India ever had.
 
 



 
The Akbar bead

VABT  30 - 37 * 27 * 3 mm 

 


Ancient Lapis Lazuli beads
Most of the beads displayed here are from Afghanistan.
 
 



VABT  31
Click on picture for larger image


 



 
 


 
VABT 32 20 * 6 mm (Afg 46)
A rare double ax bead in lapis lazuli

 



 
 



VABT  33 -  30 * 14 * 10 mm
Convex Bicone shaped bead

 


DONG SON - VIETNAM 700 B.C. TO 200 A.D. ?

I have to marvel at these long slender beads!
These striking Dong Son agate beads most probably originate from India. They are a little similar to the long carnelian Indus valley beads produced in the period around 2500 B.C.

 
 




 VAB -DS 1 - 83 * 12 * 8 mm
Click on pictures for larger images

 


The shine in this translucent 82mm long bead is awesome! Also note the beautiful excavation patina on this gorgeous bead! This bead was maybe never meant for daily use. It was only meant for wearing at special religious occasions with a funeral as the climax! I am quite sure that a bead like this was able to impress the Gods receiving you on the other side. At least I consider this bead to be gift from the Gods.  As you can see the design has taken the human body into consideration. The bead has been shaped in such a way that one side is polished into a flat bow form that makes the it follow the shape of the body. Since the bead is translucent I have made a photo of a part of the hole. Note how 'organic' the hole is.
 


 
 





VAB-DS 2 - 58 * 9 mm

 


 
VAB-DS 3 - 55 * 10 mm



 
VAB-DS 4 -  51 * 9 mm - SOLD TO HERVE




 
VAB-DS 5 - 46 * 8 mm - SOLD




 
VAB-DS 6 - 44 * 10 mm  -  Sold



 
VAB-DS 7 - 40 * 11 mm

 


 
VAB-DS 8 - 38 * 9 mm  - Sold





VAB-DS 9 -  35 * 10 mm

 


VAB-DS 10 - 34 * 9 mm

 


VAB-DS 11 - 33 * 9 mm - SOLD TO HERVE





VAB-DS 12 - 33 * 10 mm




VAB-DS 13 - 33 * 8 mm




VAB-DS 14 - 31 * 13 mm





 
VAB-DS 15 - 31 * 13 mm




 
VAB-DS 16 - 27 * 11 mm




 
VAB-DS 17 - 26 * 8 mm 



 


KALINGA HEIRLOOM BEADS FROM THE PHILIPINES
 
 



VAB 34 -
 


Kalinga heirloom beads
This multi strand necklace of heirloom beads is in itself like a history book starting with the
ancient Indian agate and onyx beads and ending with the 19th Century European glass beads.
The large white rectangular beads are most probably made from the shell from the tridacna clam.
 
This strand shows a lot of wear and tear. Kalinga woman inherit these beads when they marry
and they will wear them daily from that moment onwards. The Kalingas are a
matriarchal society.
The mother will give her strand to her eldest daughter. In case of more wealth in the family there
will be heirloom strands to the younger daughters as well.  This strand is symbolically stringing
together generations in a time span more than 1000 years.  In this way the heirloom necklace
will grow in diversity and age together with the family they represent.
 
 




 


ANCIENT CONCH SHELL BEADS
These are not Nagaland conch shell beads. They were found in Uttar Pradesh. On VAB 22 you can still see the coloring in both ends where the gold cabs have been sitting.

 
 



VABC  35 -  112 * 25 mm 


 



 
 



VABC  36 61 * 24 mm 
 


 
 



VABC 37 -  68 * 27 mm 
 


Ancient Spindle Whorls
A spindle whorl is a disk fitted onto a spindle to increase and maintain the speed of the spin.
The spindle whorls below are from Persia around 1000 BC.
 
 


SPND 1 -  19  * 21 mm



SPND 2
 

SPND 3 - 17 * 7 mm


SPND 4  -  23 * 15 mm
 


SPND 5  -  19 * 14 mm
 


SPND 6  -  5,5 * 8 mm
 



SPND 7  -  14 * 11 mm


SPND 8  -  13,5 * 11,5 mm
 

SPND 9  -  14,5 * 6,5 mm


SPND 9  -  19 * 9,5 mm
 

SPND 10  -  17,5 * 10,5 mm


SPND 11  -  14 * 11 mm
 

SPND 12  -  14 * 11 mm


SPND 13  -  14 * 11,5 mm
 

SPND 14  -  13 * 12 mm


SPND 15  -  17 * 10 mm
 

SPND 16  -  16,5 * 10 mm


SPND 17  -  16 * 13 mm
 


SPND 18  -  13,5 * 7,5 mm
 


SPND 19  -  14 * 11,5 mm
 

SPND 20  -  15 * 9 mm
 


SPND 21  -  18 * 8,5 mm
 

SPND 22  -  16 * 8,5 mm


SPND 23  -  19 * 12 mm
 

SPND 24  -  17 * 11 mm
 



 


 
 



VAB-aba 1 - 25 * 14 mm




 



VAB-aba 2 - 17 * 11 mm



VAB-aba 3 - 25 * 11mm



VAB-aba 4 - 25 * 14mm
 An ancient agate bead with deep crystaline structures.



VAB-aba 5 - 22 * 9 mm



VAB-aba 6 - 26 * 10 mm
 




VAB-aba 7 - 24 * 17mm

 


 
 

 

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Contact: Gunnar Muhlman - Gunnars@mail.com