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Original Message:   Jatim Bead - questions
Oh dear, I hate saying this, but Iím really doubtful about this bead. I hope Iím wrong, because itís a very impressive bead, and I easily could be. In general, I think itís possible to distinguish fake Jatims from genuine beads at least 90% of the time, by looking separately at each element in the total picture. But the downside of that is that beads that donít meet oneís standard criteria may be discarded by mistake, and maybe that is what Iím doing now. Having said that, here are the problems that I have with this particular bead:


1. the form - this high/square-shouldered shape is unusual (but there are lots of variants so this is not decisive);

2. the surface - generally, there are very few beads where the surface is as uniformly smooth as this (the big exception is with some of the beads that were dug up in the early 90s and sanded or polished to ďimproveĒ their looks, but in that case you can almost always see signs of the polishing process with a loupe or microscope);

3. the colours - if the photo is accurate, the red seems slightly more red and the yellow more orangey than I would think is normal. This may be within the range of variations that is to be expected with glass that sometimes came from different sources, but in general all of the fake canes with these red and yellow colours that I have seen are similar (NB illustrations in books tend to be misleading, I find, because they exaggerate the red - perhaps the fakes are copying them!);

4. the arrangement of the canes - it seems to me that the bead-maker has tried deliberately to make the bead look imperfect, for instance, in the lower part of the bead in your third photo where there are more broken sections of cane than Iíve seen in any authentic bead of this type;

5. the green/yellow/red cane slice that has been inserted in the side of the bead shown in that third image - this is an unusual practice and the cane itself, particularly the green, is uncommon too (perhaps the maker put it there as a kind of signature, or a deliberate mistake to mock the collector who buys it - Iíve seen this quite often with the people who make fake ceramics and bronzes);

6. the white glass that appears in the gaps between the cane slices in the third picture - this effect is sometimes seen in Jatims where the core of the bead is incompletely covered, but white cores are extremely rare.

So there we have it. I have quite a few authentic Jatims with this basic cane pattern. Iíll attach a photo of one that is biconical.

All the best,

Will

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