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General ID Tutorial
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Posted by: Josh Post Reply
12/17/2019, 15:30:13

Hello everybody,

I just asked myself, how you start investigating a bead. I read nearly every article, blog, book and I just wrote down a "how to" for myself...

The attached pictures for example:

Step 1: What kind of bead is it?
Step 2: Drill holes?
Step 3: Surface?
Step 4: Color?
Step 5: Shine?
Step 6: Bead location/Seller communication, listening to the often funny storys :-)

So my conclusion for this bead is:

Step 1: Zi, Sakor Namkor
Step 2: Not centered, slightly used look, no clear statement possible
Step 3: Slight signs of wethering, not clear, few dings, overall no sharp edges.
Step 4: Pattern clear, seems deep in matrix, no floating of pattern, color unusual, colors slightly fade
Step 5: Reflections are not too glossy, nice light refraction
Step 6: Allegedly 100 years old


So my opinion would be:
Price 500 USD: Dzi bead, 1990 Taiwan.
Price of 2500 USD: too dangerous to buy
Price of 2.500.000 USD: It is real and I print the pictures and frame them.

Do you have any Steps you include in your investigation that I do not have in mine? How does the pricing of a bead affect you? Feel free to correct me...
Any book recommendation? Any European meetings where people discuss these topics?

Thank you very very much in advance, Josh

dzi2019.jpg (200.0 KB)  


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Re: General ID Tutorial
Re: General ID Tutorial -- Josh Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: odan Post Reply
12/18/2019, 09:41:58

Hey Josh. This bead looks like a resin bead.
I have some like it and it's made out of some sort of plastic.
Check out Gruda beads and you will find newer dZi's priced very high.
It's always good to get a second opinion and that's where BCN is a GR8 resource.
I learn a lot from just reading all the post here.
Wait till you start exploring amber....lots of reproductions with this material too.
GR8 to see you having so much fun with beads...like the rest of us here at BCN.

see ya at the forum



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Re: Re: General ID Tutorial
Re: Re: General ID Tutorial -- odan Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Josh Post Reply
12/19/2019, 11:36:40

Hi Odan,

thank you very much for your response. It is fascinating how "easily" you even know by just looking at some pictures what material a bead is made of.

How long did it take to train your eye for beads?

Thank you, Josh



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Re: Re: General ID Tutorial
Re: Re: General ID Tutorial -- odan Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: norbu Post Reply
01/02/2020, 21:01:23

These images from the internet shows dark lines on white stone wonder if the stone is dyed white or maybe it's naturally white.

IMG_20200103_123610.jpg (103.0 KB)  IMG_20200103_124347.jpg (38.1 KB)  


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Imitation Zi
Re: General ID Tutorial -- Josh Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
12/18/2019, 19:27:19

I agree that this is a plastic imitation of a zi, probably made in Nepal. These are considerably less than 100 years old. They were first published by Robert Liu in the premier issue of The Bead Journal (1974), and were not necessarily new beads at that time. They were also the topic of my presentation at the International Bead Conference (1985) aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. And, of course, I show a reasonable variety of them in my article for Arts of Asia (2002).

Let's say you thought this might be a Chinese reproduction (agate) zi bead. It would still be well under 100 years old. These came into the marketplace (out of Taiwan) in 1992. Only twenty-seven years ago. (I own the first one to come to the US—also in my zi article.) Nevertheless, by the first decade of the 21st C., these were routinely misrepresented as being "50 years old," and then "100 years old"—and then "ancient," by unscrupulous (mostly Chinese) bead sellers.

I recommend my AoA article, as well as my article, currently in-press for Ligabue Magazine (Venice), that will be released soon. Also the first decent report on zi beads, by Ebbinghouse and Winston (Ornament, 1982) is a very important paper.

Jamey



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Re: Imitation Zi
Re: Imitation Zi -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Josh Post Reply
12/19/2019, 11:31:34

Hi Jamey,

thank you very much for all these informations. I will do my research now and read your articles. Excuse me for asking, but where can I find your work?


Thank you, Josh



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Papers
Re: Re: Imitation Zi -- Josh Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
12/25/2019, 06:29:55

I hope that in the New Year I will prepare various scans of my previous work. I will show the Ligabue Magazine with my article about zi beads, and buying info soon.

Here's an online article from BEADS (SBR) that is a good general reference to stone beads and imitations:

https://surface.syr.edu/beads/vol10/iss1/5/?utm_source=surface.syr.edu%2Fbeads%2Fvol10%2Fiss1%2F5&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages

I will find some others too.... Jamey



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Ebbinghouse and Winsten
Re: Papers -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
12/25/2019, 06:45:23

The Bead Journal article from 1982 was republished in 1988 in The Tibet Journal. Here's a link that will get you access to their paper:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/43300278?seq=1



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Ian Glover & Bérénice Bellina
Re: Papers -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
12/25/2019, 06:50:00

Ian Glover is a competent and important researcher from England. Here's an article about chemically-decorated stone beads. It does not deal with zi. However it is a significant contribution to the literature, that broadly includes zi beads, in a technical way.

https://www.persee.fr/doc/befeo_0336-1519_2001_num_88_1_3513

JDA.



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Re: Ian Glover & Bérénice Bellina
Re: Ian Glover & Bérénice Bellina -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Josh Post Reply
01/04/2020, 04:12:34

Hi Jamie, first of all I want to wish you and all the others a happy new decade. Thank you very much for providing the links to the articles. I already ordered the Arts of Asia Article you mentioned and I can't wait to learn more about this interesting topic.

Cheers, Josh



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You are welcome Josh! Happy 2020!
Re: Re: Ian Glover & Bérénice Bellina -- Josh Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
01/04/2020, 12:54:52



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Re: Imitation Zi
Re: Imitation Zi -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: norbu Post Reply
01/03/2020, 00:19:40

Dear Sir, Are these beads natural white or are they dyed before the dark patterns are created.
These images are from the internet.

1_IMG_20200103_123610.jpg (103.0 KB)  1_IMG_20200103_124347.jpg (38.1 KB)  


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Re: Zi Manufacture
Re: Re: Imitation Zi -- norbu Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
01/03/2020, 19:15:33

Dear Norbu,

Ancient zi beads, and reproductions that are accurately made, all have at least two applications or treatments, that have typical predictable results.

One treatment, that is similar to staining (and is called "caramelization" and/or "carbonization") makes the agate brown or black. This, traditionally involves saoking the stone in a sugar solution, and then heating it.

The other process (formerly called "etching"—though this is wrong) involves "painting" (or penning) a design onto the surface of the bead, using a solution that is made with washing soda (called "sal soda") plant juice, as a thickener, and possibly lead. Having been fired, this creates the white or pale lines, circles, and spots, that become a permanent part of the stone.

Although some zi beads have "dark patterns," most zi are dark with pale patterns. Also no "dyes" are used. (Dyes are organic compounds; whereas chemical decoration uses minerals to impart color. Dyes are also temporary, and will not soak deeply into agate.) It is not always clear whether the beads are decorated first, or stained first. There were probably different procedures and results.

You can read longer descriptions of these processes in my 2002 article for Arts of Asia.

Be well—and Happy 2020. Jamey



Modified by Beadman at Sat, Jan 04, 2020, 13:31:55

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Re: General ID Tutorial
Re: General ID Tutorial -- Josh Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
12/20/2019, 18:17:15

Hello Josh, no expert here.

Always helps to have good lighting, and excellent magnification- like a lighted Jeweler's loupe.

If it is a Bead that is Popular and Expensive you know it is most likely Faked a LOT and so be very cautious and skeptical.

People Misrepresent Beads a Lot and Not always on purpose.

I have some of those Beads also- the Resin ones- and they are an affordable alternative for Jewelry Makers that like the Look and the Style.

As you probably know, the Agate/Calcedony dZi beads are being artificially aged and put through some type of roller that produces circular and crescent surface marks. These marks occur naturally when glass and stone beads, or marbles, are hit by another bead or similar and receive surface fractures over time.

Good luck in your Bead Collecting. Luckily there are many Generous and Knowledgable Bead Lovers, Collectors and Researchers in this Forum. I am always learning here, and grateful.

Holiday Best Wishes, and Happy New Year!

Anne

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

Modified by AnneLFG at Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 18:18:56

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Re: Re: General ID Tutorial
Re: Re: General ID Tutorial -- AnneLFG Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: odan Post Reply
12/25/2019, 16:28:23

This is the GR8 thing about the FORUM, There's so many people to help at all levels of training. Even I have learned a lot here.
I forget a lot too so this place is just what I need.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all

see ya at the forum



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Re: Re: General ID Tutorial
Re: Re: General ID Tutorial -- AnneLFG Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Josh Post Reply
01/04/2020, 04:22:37

Hi Anne,

happy new year from Berlin and thank you for your response.
I just figured out for myself, that all the fakes on the market are a good way to understand how the beads were made. It is like a reverse engineering process, which leads from time to time in the right direction.
At the same time I think to myself that there must be documents explaining in detail how a "good" fake is made. Wouldn't it be great to have a video documentary of some specialists trying to show how the beads were made?

Cheers, Josh



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Re: General ID Tutorial
Re: Re: Re: General ID Tutorial -- Josh Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
01/06/2020, 03:29:59

Josh—I have been explaining how glass beads were made since 1982. Often here.

In 1983, when ancient jatim entered into the American marketplace, I quickly determined how they were made, and how they were similar to and dissimilar from Middle Eastern (Western Asian) beads.

Some years ago, James Lankton absorbed my synthesis on making jatim, and collaborated with a glassworker to attempt to reproduce these beads according to the steps I described. The work was video-taped—and I've seen the result. It was impressive. The one thing the glassworker did not do was to form a cane with a central channel (that would become the beads perforations). Instead, he made a solid cane; and upon forming individual beads by constricting, he perforated the beads using a hot tungsten rod. For me, this just demonstrates that authentic hot-pinching remains an unknown and not-revived technique—that would be difficult to master without concerted practice.

Jamey



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