The Gems Of The Gods: Mystery Of Tibetan Dzi Stone Beads

October 01, 2017

The Gems Of The Gods: Mystery Of Tibetan Dzi Stone Beads

Dzi Beads are perhaps one of the most powerful, expensive, and sought after of all talismans. Tibet Dzi beads or Dzi stones have been known to sell for as much as several million dollars. To many Tibetans, the Dzi are sacred heirlooms; the beads will often be passed from generation to generation.

According to the records of Tibetan medicine, the pure and authentic Dzi Beads can enhance immune function as well as prevent apoplexy. However, the amount of the authentic Dzi Beads is fixed and rare. 

What is Dzi bead?

Dzi bead is a type of stone bead of uncertain origin worn as part of a necklace and sometimes as a bracelet.

Dzi (pronounced Zee) is a Tibetan word used to describe a patterned, usually agate, of mainly oblong, round, cylindrical or tabular shape pierced lengthwise called Heaven's Bead (tianzhu) in Chinese.

The meaning of the Tibetan word "Dzi" translates to "shine, brightness, clearness, splendour". The beads originate in the Tibetan cultural sphere and can command high prices and are difficult to come by. They are found primarily in Tibet, but also in neighbouring Bhutan, Ladakh and Sikkim.

dzi beads

These beads are generally prized as protective amulets and are sometimes ground into a powder to be used in traditional Tibetan medicine. Beads subject to this process have small "dig marks" where a portion of the bead has been scraped or ground away to be included in the medicine. Some dzi exhibit grinding and polishing of one or both ends, again the result of reduction for use in traditional Tibetan medicine or, in some cases, due to the bead's use as a burnishing tool in the application of gold leaf to thanka paintings or gilt bronze statuary.

The most highly prized Dzi beads are those of ancient age, made of natural agate. The original source of these beads is a mystery. While the traditional, ancient-style beads are greatly preferred, new modern-made dzi are gaining popularity amongst Tibetans.

dzi beads meaning

Origin of Dzi

The legend of the Dzi and the purpose of the bead varies with each one. Some of the legends say that Dzi are the droppings of the Garuda, while others say they are gifts from the Gods and only those with pure Karma will ever find them.

Most Tibetans believe that the Dzi were once insects that lived in a kind of nest call “dzitshang” in Tibet. When the insects were unearthed they will continue to move for a while and eventually become petrified in the form of Dzi that exist today.

Another legend said that there was a time when Tibet was overwhelmed by severe epidemic and the Tibetans were facing very hard life. Fortunately, the compassionate Vajravarahi Buddha came to rescue by releasing the magical Dzi Beads from the sky. The beads are believed to bring good luck, ward off evil, and protect the wearer from physical harm.

It is also believed that the Dzi beads were made from meteorites fell from outer space thousands of years ago. The magnetic field of Dzi bead is three times stronger than the normal crystals.

authentic dzi beads

Although the geographic origin of dzi beads is uncertain, it is accepted that they are now called "Tibetan beads," just like "Tibetan coral," which also came to Tibet from elsewhere. Tibetans cherish these beads and consider them hereditary gems. In this way they have survived thousands of years, being worn by hundreds of individual people. Dzi are found primarily in Tibet, but also in neighbouring Bhutan, Nepal, Ladakh and Sikkim. Although Dzi type agate beads were made in the Indus Valley during the Harappan period and at various locations rich in agate deposits in India, such as in Khambhat, since their Neolithic periods, the earliest archaeologically controlled find of an agate bead with Dzi style decoration of straight and curved lines and circular eye found has been from a Saka culture excavation (Uigarak) in Kazakhstan, dated 7th - 5th C. BCE. These were said to be imports from India, reflecting long distance trade with the more nomadic Saka or Scythian tribes.

Sometimes shepherds and farmers find Dzi beads in the soil or in the grasslands. Because of this, some Tibetans traditionally believe or believed that Dzi are naturally formed, not man-made.

tibet dzi beads

Hollywood star Jet Li is a well known dzi bead collector

Meaning of Tibetan Dzi Beads

The number of eyes and the various patterns found on the surface of the Dzi beads all has a special meaning and purpose. The one-eyed Dzi beads are generally meant to promote brilliance while the 3-eyed Dzi are favoured as a wealth enhancer. The 9-eyed Dzi beads are much sought after as they are well-known as a window to wisdom, good health, success, power, compassion, glory, and at the same time acts as a protector and remover of obstacles. For those seeking extreme power, go for the 21-eyed Dzi as this bead enhances your natural magic power and help to realize desires to achieve the highest form of human and spiritual divination.

Additionally, there are some rare Dzi with exotic markings such as the Tiger ToothRu YiLotusDorje, and etc. all with equally amazing properties.

Cleaning and caring the Dzi stones

It is very important to cleanse your Dzi stone once you receive it. You need to get rid of all the stored up energy in it, and then ask it to bond with you.

The first thing to do is to hold your stone, in your hand, under running water for a few minutes. Water is very important as a spiritual cleansing agent in many eastern philosophies. Everyone knows a park with a stream, or a favorite place near a river are the best sources of running water for cleansing your Dzi stone the ancient ways.  But now in modern times, the kitchen sink or garden sprinkler will work too. Remember to keep positive thoughts in your mind while you are cleaning.

After you dry off your stone, put the stone between your palms as if you are praying. Bring your thumb tips up until they touch the tip of your nose (The posture most Buddhists pray to Buddha). Now, quietly, and sincerely, ask the stone to be a part of your life. Ask it to help you, protect you, and assure it that you will respect and take good care of it.

dzi stones

After you have done this Let your Dzi stone sit outside in the sun for several hours. This helps to cleanse it, and also adds the energetic power to it. Some claim that burying your Dzi in the earth for the night of the full moon will also help energize it.

In the ancient times, this cleansing ritual was done at least once a month.  

Since time immemorial they have been revered as sacred amulets that carry and bestow blessings to the wearer, and due to their rarity, they have become incredibly sought after and subsequently very valuable. They play a significant role in Tibetan culture and continue to be used in the preparation of Tibetan medicine.

Despite the fact that the Dzi beads belong to Tibetan origins, they can be worn by anyone to encourage a good aura and better karma. Because the beads represent a mythical meaning as opposed to a religious one, race or religion of the wearer is of no concern.


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