Coral has been a prized material in Tibet and the Himalayan regions for many centuries. Indeed, the majority of Tibetans regard natural red coral to be more precious than gold and the most prized beads can sell for hundreds of dollars per gram in Tibet. Salmon orange to deep red beads are always the most valuable. Along with amber and turquoise, coral is also sought after to decorate ornate hair ornaments or headdresses.
The majority of antique 'Tibetan' red coral originated from the Mediterranean Sea. It travelled along the silk trade route via Iran, Samarkand, Ladakh and then finally ended up in the markets of Lhasa. It was also traded to India by a direct sea route from the end of the 15th Century. This made it much easier for Tibetan traders to get a more regular supply of this material. Today, Mediterranean coral is now rightly protected from harvesting, so it has become very difficult to find genuine beads. The marketplace offers many fake corals and dyed alternatives from China, however, they can never be a substitute for the real thing !
The coral piece offered here was pierced at its upper end to wear it as a pendant. The piece of coral offered here was pierced at its upper end to wear it as a pendant. Its length of 1.6 " / 4 cm it was ideal for this purpose. The age is difficult to determine, but its smoothed surface suggests that it was worn by Tibetans for several generations. The darker areas and the shape completely rule out a fake. These are mainly found in corals that were made into jewelry.
The intense red color of the coral is real, it has not been photo-enhanced.
|Measurements:||1.6 x 0.8 x 0.6 " | 4.0 x 2.0 x 1.5 cm|
|Price:||63 $ | 55 €|
|Download:||High resolution [105 KB, 690 x 1258 px.]|
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