Philosopher's Bead stone

Bead f

Burmese Beads

Seal Beads

Etched Beads

crystal Beads

Sulemani Beads

Bead Magic

Bead Beauty

Fossil Beads

My favorite
Ancient Beads

Ancient Beads

Carnelian & Sardonyx Beads

glass Beads

Ancient Bead production


Early Indus
Valley Beads

Late Indus
Valley Beads

Old African

Afghan Beads

Art & Eys Beads

Ancient Bone Shell & Ivory

Tiny Ancient Beads

Ancient Glaced
Bactrian Beads


welcomes you  -  Genuine old and ancient beads!

 Gunar Muhlman & associate partner Zuzana Illova 

Old Nepali Masks

Old Nepali

Old Tibetan
Ritual objects

Old Buddhist

Naga Art

Ancient Glass

Bronze Seals

Old Burmese
Opium weights



Various Old and Ancient Items



Ancient Beads can be thousands of years old and reach back to the cradle of civilization!
What fascinates me deeply is that Beads are the oldest art form in the world! They are older than the cave paintings. Most probably you will feel a significant difference between wearing ancient beads, full of history, and new factory made. Just imagine the feeling of wearing an old bead, that has been in use for more than 30 generations. You are yourself a bead on a long string of human DNA from your ancestors. They still live in you right down to the sea anemone that genetically seen gave us our heartbeat. So tell me. Can we be the owners of ancient beads or are we just caretakers?

The bead as a remedy against unreality
For the sensitive person, an ancient bead is charged with the atmosphere of those ancient cultures that made and used them. This symbolic energy allows the wearer of the bead to be in remembrance of his own archaic human history. This bond links to the real in you. It shows a pathway either out of the hamster wheel of modern civilization or a maybe more; a way to navigate the accelerating complexity of big data in a fluid and interconnected world society.
In ancient times, before clothes were designed with pockets, beads were used as a kind of currency and a sign of social status. However, I dare to say that these beautifully crafted beads were primarily used for ritualistic and religious purposes. They were talismans. Ancient beads were focal points of mystical power in a world of analog, symbolic and metaphorical self-understanding and social navigation.
The Ancient bead as a rechargeable talisman
In my perspective, an ancient bead still can be a talisman, not exactly in the way it was used in ancient times, but in a new setting that I would term as postmodern magic.  For the modern man, everything is seemingly governed by reason. Large parts of our brain are however still rooted in archaic symbolic thinking. In recognizing that we are both logic and symbolic thinking systems, we can in a kind of post-modern double code both wear an ancient talisman and a perfect suit and tie. In this sense, we charge the talisman, the ancient bead, with our symbolic and deeply emotional rooted intentions and wishes. Through the talisman, we are now able to make a great synthesis between our irrational emotional and our need for intelligent navigations systems.
This is's philosophic viewpoint:
To see Ancient Beads in the light of post-modern double coded 'magick'.

Ancient beads from Asia
Most of the old beads were sourced from Nepal, but even in my native country Denmark I had the good fortune to hunt down some of the best beads in this collection! Also, my father as a sailor and a traveller in the Far East has in the late 50ties collected many of the beads you see here. He by chance stumbled over a lot of ancient beads in India, in a time where no one otherwise had interest in such small things.
Greater India
The major part of these remarkable ancient and old beads have come into this gallery from the India of antiquity, covering Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tibet. This 'Greater' India was a pioneer in stone bead making and began exporting lapis lazuli and carnelian beads from as early as 2000 BC. Hence the majority of the beads in this collection are from the Indus Valley Civilization up to 1000 AD.

Collectors united in love for ancient beads
Today ancient beads are understood and appreciated by a growing number of people from all over the world. Some are collectors, some believe in bead magic or beads as currency. Others just feel attracted to the beauty of an ancient bead. Whatever category or non-category you belong to:
Feel free to browse through this virtual catalog of genuine old and ancient beads.

About the photo scan of the beads
On the pages My favorite Ancient Beads and
Ancient fossil Beads, I have scanned and in a 'homeopathic' way used photoshop to amplify the artistic 'message' of the beads. I have basically done this to make it more easy for a newcomer in the world of ancient beads to discover all the beauty and effort stored in each single of these masterpieces from the dawn of our civilizations. Their whispering might otherwise not be heard in our fantastic but also information loaded and noisy contemporary times.

This enhancing process has on the other hand also magnified the natural scars and cracks in the beads, which again makes them unappealing to the eastern, especially mainland Chinese eyes. It reminds me of the following incident. I once gifted a friend of mine a professional macro lens to put in front of his Iphone, so he could take super sharp close up photos of his beads. After seeing what this macro lens was able to do, his comment was: These pictures are too good! You see all the imperfections. If I send such pictures to my customers, they will not buy from me.
I have been a passionate collector of beads and other weird stuff for more than 40 years. However, I have now, in my days of retirement, decided to sell my collection. In case of my hopefully not impending departure from this world, nobody here where I live would understand the true value of ancient beads. They would end up on a flea market and be sold for nothing and, worst of all: end up in places where no one would have the understanding necessary to appreciate them for what they are.

Therefore, feel free to enquire about prices! Kind regards from Gunnar Muhlman!

May the bead-force be with you!

 Gunnar Muhlman -               Visit Kevin Ball's beadsite

Antascaksus - the Inner Eye
What we have in front of us - one way or another - is called a “bead” in English, or also “pearl” in many other languages. Ancient beads or pearls thus by common denomination. Neither are satisfactory however to describe the talismanic, energetic, intrinsically personal and symbolic value of such an implement. “Amulet” is much more fitting, even for the smallest of them, even if most people imagine a huge golden plaque or disc hanging around the neck of an Inca Priest upon hearing the word “amulet”. Habitual images are strong.

And even though beads were (also in antiquity mostly) placed on a string together with other beads/pearls/ornaments - today even the smallest of them can stand alone, be powerful
and in a way become an amulet.

Beads, natural stones, flood stones, seals, ornaments and even small neolithic tools can be carried as "pocket stones", be placed in a ring or worn on a string around neck or wrist.
In all these fashions such ancient objects can both become part of ones personality and of everyday life while not losing their unique historic value or aura. On the contrary with
gathering more and more patina they will become more beautiful and cherished over time.

The word "amulet" however comes from the Latin amuletum, which according to Gaius Plinius’ historia naturalis simply describes" an object that protects a person from trouble", it is thus apotropaic. And the “evil-eye” bead bears a name connected to this thought, although it literally is an “anti-evil” or “warding-off-evil” object.

As most amulets, such as agate amulets or jasper amulets usually have an opening on two sides, due to often elaborate drilling, they become also communicators between both lateral spheres and/or the spheres above and below. Just as Neolithic Chinese Congs, they can in this view unfold cosmic transcendent virtues by channeling energy or as some believe communicative properties (such as in shamanistic or ancestral rites in many present and ancient cultures).

If any given man or women two, three or seven thousand years ago was leaning over a precious implement made from natural stone, mineral or other material - in order to shape, drill, polish and perfect it - why should we not take a moment to admire the skill and masterly craftsmanship in transforming that object into what we can see today. Trying also to see the societal, cultural or enigmatic value it had for them. Some implements could only be handled or owned by specific individuals, some were personal signifiers or clan symbols and others given with the rite of initiation or as an award. And many had a spiritual, an inner virtue imbued. In this way, the inside becomes outside and the outward manifestation is internalized – in a fluid, permeating way.

When hearing of amulets, beads and pearls most people love the “perfect and shiny”.

And yes it has its place and value - but the unassuming, raw, opaque and dull can also have inherent qualities. Ancient, especially Neolithic implements are mostly often not shiny.   They often have an earthy, rough, mossy but also warmer, more embracing quality. They draw you in by the way they warm up swiftly, have a velvety or rough surface (different from or similar to human skin) with patina, calcification or irregularities. Each is unique and exudes a warm, deep timbre.

The shiny implement on the other hand is mostly translucent, uplifting, often facetted and geometrically patterned. It breaks the light, the polish glows and reflects more than modern objects sometimes – especially if drilled with Ernestite (a now depleted drill material used by Indus Valley Culture craftsmen). The shiny is the clear, crispy, elegant, high timbre.

Yet, both dull and shiny, high and low come from the depth of the planet, from its mineral or organic core. Both connect different emanations of the same – a unison. No separation, but o n e .

As such this organic material by its origin vibrates or better it resonates – and it does so if one is receptive to this resonance, if one has an inner eye “antaścaksus” in Sanskrit.

And this sublime oscillation one can perceive sometimes also visually if one pays attention, to the surface pattern or the lines and markings on both dull or polished implements. Each speaks differently to one or another – it is democratic, because there is no “must” to perceive this like this or that.

Perhaps the idea that another human being thousands of years ago appreciated and wore as an amulet, one or several of these “pearls” or “beads” makes the time fabric itself resonate as well. What has been cherished then can be cherished now, in a non-authoritative simple way or in a scholarly way.

Of all the amuletic implements seen here the current favourite is shown on the above illustration. It is probably one of the most unassuming to most observers. It is made of opaque, dull grey and white stone, in an elongated drop-shape, drilled one side wider than the other. A Neolithic piece, worn around the neck probably. The special quality it holds is the diagonal bicolorated pattern – a sort of Ying and Yang found in nature, then cut shaped and drilled by a sensible human being perhaps six, seven or eight thousand years ago. Because it meant something and had a certain symbolism.

It is like a one-off piece calling, resonating from the other spectrum of time – simple but powerful, still today. One could call this the elastic extra dimensions of the space-time fabric. A phenomenon which the Inner Eye can perceive at times.

Calabi and Yau - two quantum mechanics physicists - describe the possibility of curled up multiverses on a minutely small scale. They describe the possibility of holomorphic extra dimensions of space-time.

Concentrated on one point there unfold so many aspects and facets. This is what can be discovered here too in a way, one object many facets – and all without a degree in quantum mechanics – simply with a degree of curiosity and attention!

Written by Michael




As long as there have been collectors of ancient beads there have been a production of fake beads.
However, in the last few years, a virtual tsunami of fake beads has entered the market!
This vertical rise in look-alikes is due to the almost exponential rise of Asian collectors, especially from mainland China. The growing demand for ancient beads has virtually hoovered up the market and this to such an extent that there are only a very few genuine ancient quality beads left for sale. Real ancient beads are no more to be found in the countries that ten ago still had plenty of them. The sources have simultaneously almost dried up, and only low-quality beads seem now to be available.
However, there is no sign of any lack of beads in the seller's shops in Asia or on the internet. When one takes a look at the ancient bead market nowadays, there is one string after the other of absolutely perfect high-quality beads available for astronomic prices.
Such a massive quantity of ancient perfect beads, even exactly shaped after the buyers taste, is however not possible! The population 2000 years ago was only a fragment of what it is today, and only the richest few of these few could afford to possess high-quality beads. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of these beads would today only have survived with a lot of wear and tear and in more or less broken condition.
So one does not need an academic degree to figure out that almost all of these flawless, high-quality beads must be fake! Today the far east is flooded with new beads looking old.
No more ancient beads to get after 2021!
Some of my 'spies' in the far East talked with bead dealers from Afghanistan and Pakistan. They said that nowadays it is really tough to find any ancient beads and within three years from now they will all be gone.

Gone where?

To mainland China where they will circulate within closed circles of wealthy collectors forming a kind of secret brotherhood, sealed off from the public eye.
The power of Bead-currency and the super rich
Here the real stuff will be used as a kind of bitcoins assisting high-end business transactions. DZI is of course the leading bead-coin. High-quality beads will in this setting act as a form of liquid cash much more easy and discrete to transport as compared to cash. Favors can be bestowed, not with vulgar suitcases full of dollars, but with a discrete handshake where a little black stone change hands. As in the case of cryptocurrency, it is difficult for big brother governments to get eyes on these transactions. A further advantage of the beadcoins is that there will not even be a digital trace to follow. Huge wealth can change hands with only these hands knowing.
Bead hunger and the nouveau riche
In a situation where not only DZI but all kinds of real ancient beads are getting more and more scarce: What can now satisfy the bead hunger for the significant growing number of wealthy, but not so oligarch type of people in China? These nouveau riche and not so educated layers of the Chinese society are imitating the trends in the upper class, but with lesser economic power, which in the Chinese bead culture is equivalent to Chung DZI, lesser DZI.
For sure there are already a lot of genuine ancient beads circulating in the wealthy segments of the Asian societies. There has been a steady flow of real beads into China the last 20 years. There are of course also many serious and knowledgeable Chinese higher middle-class collectors who love beads for the sake of beads.
However, seen in comparison to the rapidly growing number of wealthy bead-greedy people with no interest in beads as art or history they play a minor role.
A short meta-story about the mainland Chinese
Let me here for a brief moment go on a meta-level. There is nothing wrong with this social phenomenon. The story of newly rich people with no brains has been told all over the globe at different times in history. It is an unavoidable phenomenon when a newly wealthy middle class is emerging at a fast pace. As the English say: It takes three generations to make a gentleman. And for sure the new China is 'producing' new gentlemen and woman in an almost singular pace. I was surprised to meet so many super intelligent and cultivated young Chinese people at my last bead exhibition in Bangkok. You can see some of them in the photo above. Here in these 'Tr(i)umphant' times... Let China take over ASAP ... for God's sake!
Fake it till you make it!
And now back to the theme. In the Chinese bead vacuum, a new wave of high-quality copy beads has replaced the real ones. These fakes have expanded from DZI to almost all other types of beads. Within the last few years even the, for the eastern collectors not so demanded, Indus beads have been falsified on a grander scale. In Bangkok, I also observed Chinese bead dealers purchasing seal beads from the Persian Sassanian culture. They were fake. The sellers knew that. The buyers knew that. However, it was of no importance.
This shows that the Chinese interest for ancient beads has expanded into a broader spectrum. Before only beads valued in the Tibetan tradition were in demand. This tendency is not in sync with the usual 'collectors cultural evolution-pattern', where new collectors have a very narrow spectrum of interest and from there evolve into having a global sphere of interest. Only Hong Kong Chinese have evolved organically into this global state.
No, the sudden mainland explosion of interest in all types of beads is caused by blind hunger.
Beads made far away from Tibet and in entirely different traditions of manufacture and use are on eBay, by facebook-dealers, and other more or less fraudulent bead-websites straight away baptized within the Tibetan terminology to suit the Chinese taste with known spices. Even beads from Africa are now called Chung Dzi and with this name stamped on them, they are quickly passed over the desk. When the hunger is great, you can eat any food, even fake food. In this expansion into a broader spectrum of beads, it gets even more difficult for the collector to spot the fakes. So fake-production and bead-type expansion are linked together.
Not too many of the new wealthy collectors have sufficient experience to see if a bead they like is hot or not. Only experienced collectors can tell the difference between these new wave fakes and the rare originals.
In Taiwan, they even have TV programs about fake bead production. In such a show a fake-maker showed how he used ancient drills and then placed his beads on a string where they were going endlessly back and forth until the holes looked like being used for generations. The fake-maker even openly said: The Chinese like it this way.
Cheaper beads are cheaper faked
As earlier mentioned, even the previously not so demanded Indus beads have popped up in larger and larger quantities of fakes. These replicas are however still relatively easy to spot. Why? Because the prices for Indus beads are still far away from the hyped bead-coin world of DZI. Who bothers about making a sublime fake of a type of bead that will fetch a relatively low price?
It is not cheap to make a really perfect imitation bead. Yes - you can tumble the bead in a leather bag as it was done in ancient times. You can drill the hole with ancient copper tools. You can cook the bead in sea salt and then dry it in a dehydrator. So many things are done to make it look ancient. However, it is still challenging to imitate either excavation patina, stupa/burial patina, and patina by wear through 30 generations. Even more difficult it is to mimic ancient scars and cracks.
I cannot substantiate following thought. However, you can follow it as a way to widen your perspective.
Let's say it will cost 2000 USD to make a high-quality replica bead in a Chinese laboratory that can fool even more experienced collectors. Then the price of such a bead, if it would follow the regular profit rate of the dealers, would be at least 10.000 USD!
The sugar coating of ancient patina
Through scientific methods, primarily developed in Taiwan, but also mainland China, replicas are getting better and better. This expensive high-end replication is mainly targeting the Chinese DZI-hype. The latest news, according to my 'spies', is that mainland China now has advanced laboratories that can analyze the chemical components of the stone material of the bead. From that chemical analysis, they 'sugar coat' the bead with a perfect looking patina!
My precious one!
The next question is now: How come this massive scam can take place apparently without being exposed? Of course pure ignorance plays a great role, but it is also about psychology. It is desire... Too much of desire clouds the mind. The dealers know very well that a huge percentage of their beads are well made new copies. I guess that many of the buyers also deep down know that the bead they purchased is a simulacrum and not the real thing, but they don't want to know. They suppress their suspicion and consciously make an effort to perceive the bead as a real one. This phenomenon, by the way, is the case with all kind of ancient material.
How can I know that? I know that because I know this trick of the mind from my self!

Many years ago I proudly posted a picture of an 'ancient' bead on the net. A world known expert (with a big ego, but that not the issue in this context) wrote to me that the bead I had posted was a modern fake. Seen with my contemporary knowledge I can for sure say that he was 100% right, but at that time I refused to see the truth and instead I got angry with him. I felt aggression towards the man who had pointed out plain facts! Even today, many years later, I still can observe this tendency in my mind to glorify my beads and put justified doubt aside. However now I somehow can compensate my own natural born foolishness with what I would call meta-consciousness, a loving, but slightly ironic self-awareness that as a GPS correct for the wrong course set by an over dose of greed. Meta-consciousness is by the way cultivated in Meditation.
So what can collectors of ancient beads do today? Here I will give some pieces of advice, primarily targeted to collectors from the West, since I am that too.
The huge demand for the perfect ancient quality bead is mainly coming from China. This demand, however, makes it more easy for the western collector to distinguish between the real and the simulacra:
The scarred and not perfect beads are the real ones... The rest is hype created by unconscious greed.

A perfectly imperfect bead


In the west we are for sure as 'stupid' as the eastern people, but not on this particular issue: We are not obsessed with absolute perfection when it comes to ancient artifacts. We are not so afraid of wrinkles, cracks, and scars. We even like to feel the energy of beads which has been through a tough time. We adore them as metaphors of heroes of our own culture who got defined through survived battle scars and came out stronger.
When I hold an almost too perfect bead in my hand, it is like holding something dead, something which has no essence. Touching, feeling and seeing an ancient and naturally scarred bead, I feel awe. It is almost as this bead is whispering to me through its hole. I hear the silk Road stories that this bead has 'heard' at countless caravanserais. The old bead is a focal point of crossroads of human life. As an antithesis to the contemporary greed, it was a carrier of the belief in something transcendent, something good and righteous. It became hope in what the ancient Indians have termed Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram - The Truth, the Good and the Beauty.
The ancient signature & the custodian
I once again return to the ancient and scarred bead in my hand. I imagine one of its wearers being an enlightened Buddhist monk. Another bead I look at was maybe used for generations in the same family. Another bead was found in a tribal chieftains ornament. I imagine it being traded and traveling from owner to owner to all corners of the world until it finally made a more extended stop on Papua New Guinea. And now it is here in my temporary possession. How wonderfully strange are the ways of beads!
Yes - I feel the concentrated living history when I hold such tiny beads full of wear and tear in my hand.
And I become a living part of this history by the very act of this remembrance.
I love the scarred old bead as I love myself for my imperfection.

To sum it all up:
It is a win-win situation to be a caretaker of a scarred bead.
It is most probably not a copy since it is not valued in China and... it is full of natural magic.

And remember... the bead will survive you... you are just a short event in time and space - you are a bead on the string of a bead timeline.
Yes - custodians we are.
Final words of advice
Don't purchase ancient beads and never DZI unless you are 100% sure about the provenance of the beads! In a bead apocalyptic, not so far away future, exact provenance will be the holy grail.
Be extra super careful when you purchase very expensive beads within the hype-field of the Chinese dreams of perfection. Be extra careful with beads without scars and cracks.
Good luck!



Ancient beads, smartphones and the Internet
Ancient beads, smartphones, and the Internet
Just a few years ago there used to be a lot of middlemen between the traditional village bead diggers and the final customers. How and other ever nowadays even a digger who has no access to a standard toilet and other commodities will be in the possession of a smartphone. This has disrupted the bead chain business. The middlemen are increasingly bypassed and the trade is now direct from the Afghan Village to the Chinese customer.



Beads and Baudrillard
Ancient Beads as an antidote to the simulacra

There was a photographer taking pictures of journalists who were being filmed by a TV crew as they reported on a PR event, and there was me writing about it. (Victor Lewis Smith - Grasping the Zeitgeist with the ace fashionistas 2007)
Already in the late seventies the French philosopher, Baudrillard coined the term ‘simulacra´.
Baudrillard defines the simulacra as
the generation of models of the real without origin or reality.
In the modern world of media and internet, man is increasingly removed from contact with the ‘real world’.
He is much more in touch with the signs replicating the real world. In the cyberspace and modern media world, these signs now start to refer to each other instead of referring to real things in the real world. These signs that refer to other signs in a kind of feedback is then starting to simulate reality, a hyper reality. In this way news is referring to incidents in ‘reality programs’ (what an ironic name) in the same way as they report news from Gaza.
In this way the real, according to Baudrillard, is slowly swallowed up by the hyper-real, or what we could call an unreal world that is trying to substitute the real:
It is no longer a question of limitation, nor of reduplication, nor even parody.
It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself. 
To cut it short: we live in a hyperreal world, an unreal media and web-created world that looks real,
but actually could be described with the old Indian word, Maya, or Matrix if you prefer an updated word.
In this plastic fantastic world of simulacra, or should I say silicone, Baudrillard predicts that there will be a growing, desperate longing and need for what is really real. But Baudrillard is a pessimistic man.
He saw that only quickly evolving fakes, simulacra, would be given to quench this thirst, with the result that the thirst would be even greater.
I must confess that though I agree with Baudrillard's basic philosophy, I am not at all that pessimistic.
I see a world where we in our hunger for the ‘real’ will redirect our search for the real to our ancient
history and here find ‘tokens’, symbols of reality that in themselves can emanate 'reality'.
Any ancient art object will remind us of the real inside ourselves.
In my case, I get this thirst for the real quenched when I hold an ancient bead in my hand. A genuine ancient bead is a sign and a piece of reality at the same time.
This bead was made more than a thousand years before the world wide web. It was made in a time where time was almost standing still - and only in this kind of time, it is possible to make a bead like this. And after its making, it has become one with human life through symbiosis with sweat from countless generations. Or it has become baptized through the sweat of the earth for millennia.
This bead is like a tuning fork. It makes me vibrate with what is real inside myself. 

This timeless bead in time, in my hand right now, reminds me of my favorite monk, Meister Eckhart, when he says:
The happenings of a thousand years ago, days spent millenniums since,
are in eternity no further
off than is this moment I am passing now;
the day to come a thousand years ahead or in as many years as you
can count, is no more distant in eternity than this very instant I am in.

All else is simulacra - especially fake beads!

Gunnar Muhlman - dedicated to Kevin Ball in honour of his ability to distinguish between the real and the simulacra.