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.
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
Well you sure burst my bubble there lol! I tested with acetone and they were SOAKED in dye! Sigh.. I really thought they were something special. I didn't spend much on them as they were less than 5% of an all in all pretty nice lot of old (as well as old seeming apparently lol) beads.
I wanted to say thanks for the lesson though because even though I have been collecting beads pretty much as long as I can remember, I only recently actually became curious about bead history (yes until about a year ago they were just neat and or pretty lol)
Over this past year though I have spent several hours almost daily trying to learn everything I can about them, & since I'm not studying any type in particular but any & all that seem interesting from my huge random collection it is kind of overwhelming! So I hope you all don't find my ignorance too annoying, because this seems to me to be an ideal place for learning. I appreciate your input a lot!
Also since you are an expert on this type of bead please let me know what you think of these if you would be so kind. I believe they're carnelian. They are between about 10mm to 12mm in size.
Dear federick can you please. ..teach me some basic identification knowledge about wear patterns on ancient beads?
When you see fine internal fractures in the stone darker than the base stone, it is a sign the stone is dyed. The fine webbing of darker lines is what I refer to on your beads. Two different colors one one bead is another sign.
Another thing to consider is the perforations. Older beads would probably show some wear, or damage, or dirt at the ends. If the hole has a sharp clean edge it might be a newer bead.
yes they turned out to be dyed ...the wear on them seems extreme though perhaps theres a way to fake authentic looking wear and tear too I don't know but they have no sharp cut areas in the carvings and around the holes appear almost funneled from wear. That is why I didn't suspect them to be dyed. Sigh just when I think I have figured something out I find theres so much more to learn lol