Tibetan Dzi Beads
Reference work entry
This is a special magnetic agate found in the Himalayas (e.g., eastern Tibet in China and Bhutan). It is locally called ‘Nine Eye Shale’ and is characterised by red, black, yellow and white stripes. It has a Mohs hardness of 7–8.5 and is one of the seven treasures of Tibetan Buddhism. It is called the ‘Nine Eye Heavenly Beads’ today. Its magnetic properties are three times that of quartz and is probably the strongest magnetic agate in the world. For this reason, Tibetan agate is called Dzi beads or heavenly beads, whereas the agate found in Brazil, Iran, Russia, Indonesia and Taiwan is not given this name (Fig. 22).
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