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Original Message:   Seeing fakes
Hi Danny,

I don't think it's very difficult to tell from the photo that these particular beads are fakes. Shinji is absolutely right, of course. If one looks at the beads, it's quite clear that they are technically different from authentic Jatims. For instance, the pelangis in the front row are not made from mosaic canes layered and combed over a monochrome core and then pinched off to create the individual bead.

For this reason, these fakes appear to belong to an older generation of copies from around fifteen years ago, before the beadmakers in Jember understood how the originals were made. They imitate the appearance, but not the structure. The colours of the glass and the formations of the eyes are wrong too. Somebody who has lived in Bali for thirty years and handles lots of beads could have figured this out; he ought to know too that no Jatims were being made as late as the 10th century.

The copies have gotten much better and more convincing in the past ten years, and so have the techniques for ageing them. But I don't think one needs to avoid Jatims because of that; one just has to look more carefully. I've certainly made mistakes, but we learn from our mistakes - or if we don't we should get out of the collecting game. And I don't think that Jatims are that much more dangerous than, say, Roman face beads or Phoenicians or for that matter ancient stone beads. It's the same problem with any antique really. And as for Zi - now there's a real minefield! The excitement lies in picking one's way through it.

All the best,

Will

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