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Original Message:   I began by asking questions just as you have.
Dear ilikebeads.

You are doing the right thing when asking questions. Collectors have asked me how I learned to identify authentic dZi beads. I learned by intentionally buying the fakes. After a while, the quality of the fakes became more obvious. And it became easier for me to ask better questions. So I think you are doing the right thing when you buy fakes first. You will learn from your mistakes.

I have studied carved Asian beads for more than forty years. And the MCN, Mandarin Court Necklace, is one of my specialties. Like the similar sized ones found in the MCN, yours are inscribed with the long life "Shou" symbol.

I think your inauthentic, tourist/commercial quality beads are late 1970's dyed serpentine -sometimes referred to as "soocho or soochow jade." They are not jadeite. They are not even nephrite. And they are certainly not from a 19th century MCN.

But they were often seen in large quantities at American Gift Shows in the late 20th century. They sold for twenty five to fifty cents each. While many authentic antique Chinese beads have increased in value, yours have become even less desirable because the supply has greatly exceeded the demand.

Sweet Dreams, Just Fred

P.S. Please try doing Google searches for "soocho jade," the MCN, and the Chinese Shou character.

“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” Voltaire

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