The dzi pearls of Tibet

The dzi pearls of Tibet

The dzi are considered by Tibetan people as powerful protections. Their origin is also very discussed, indeed we even found some on himalayan cremation sites aged of 4500 years. Very similar stones to the dzi have been found in numerous regions of the world, in Asia (such as in Cambodge) but also in archaeological sites in Mesopotamia and in Carthage.

Several legends give them a divine origin. One of them pretends that those stones would be scattered from the sky, as a gift from the realm of gods. Thus, the person who find one would have a better karma. As a matter of fact, they are considered as powerful and rare amulets. Another one says that they “grow” deep down in the earth and that we can find them sometimes in some geodes. Finally some say that they are fossilized insects. The dzis are quotes in the tibetan medicine passages : apparently, once they are transformed in powder, they are used to prepare the mysterious “pills of eternal life”.

We can find three sorts of dzi :

-The natural dzi : they don’t have any artificial drawings (the drawing is naturally in the stone). Some Tibetans say that a Pure Dzi is a kind of petrified insect so it can only be natural. This type of dzi is extremely rare and is the original stone. The great majority of the natural dzi are made of striated agate with sometimes the inclusions of rock crystal that form natural drawings and patterns. Those dzi have a really excellent protective power and are all different, that is why they are very coveted.

-The fabricated dzi : they are also made of natural stones (agates most of the time but sometimes cornaline), then a mixture of plant and lead is applicated on the surface. All is fired at 1200 celsius degrees, and once it is cold and the mixture is removed the patterns appear.

-The Nalo-dzi : it is a copy of dzi in glass, plastic, resin, it is here a decoration and not a protective stone. Some of them are enormous (more than 30cm long) and the first ones are dated from the last 19th century and were made of porcelain by an Austrian who made a fortune.

It is said that the dzi in general have a protective power extremely developed. Dzi are supposed to bring good fortune, sweep the bad spirits and protect its owner from dangers and accidents. Originally, the dzi were considered as protectors against the devil eye. Thus, the craftspersons created amulets with “eyes” drawn on them to “fight the fire by the fire”. A very famous case is the one of this taiwanese businessman who was the only survivor after the crash of a Boeing in 1997 where 247 people died, he was indeed wearing an 8-eye dzi. Sometimes, when a dzi is carried for the first time it is possible to be thirsty and have some buzzing in the ears during a couple of day.

Dzi are classified into two species : black or dark brown cylindrical agates with white stripes and eyes, and cornelian balls with red-ochre, white or gold strips. We also distinguish the female dzi, thin and elongated, and the male dzi, thicker and bulging. The circular dots on the pearls are called eyes. The number of eyes on the stone is considered significant. Depending on their number and arrangement, they represent different things. The highest number of eyes found on ancient dzi is twelve.  The most lusted after of all dzi is the black or brown cylindrical agate with nine white eyes separated by right-angled patterns. In Tibet, the extremely rare nine-eyed dzi are worth the price of a small farm or several silver ingots.

dzi ring tibet buddha pearl