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Dzi Classification

Dzi Legends and Myths

Authentic vs Fake Dzi

Production of Fake Dzi

Totems and Symbols of Dzi

Types of Dzi

- List by No. of Eyes

Types of Dzi

- List by Patterns

Jowo Rinpoche

Economic Role of Dzi Beads 

Medical Benefits of Dzi Beads 

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Webpage last updated on :-

14th August 2007 

Tashi Dele!  ['hello' greeting  in Tibetan]

Introduction to Ancient Tibetan Dzi

For thousands of years, Tibetans have treated the Dzi (also spelled gZi, ghzi, zi, or tzi) beads as a type of living gemstone. The word 'Dzi' may be translated from Tibetan to mean 'luminous' or 'splendour' in English.

Dzi beads are meant for devout worship and reverently kept and passed down over generations within the family. The ancient Dzi beads absorb cosmic energy from the Universe, hence Dzi beads can guard against misfortune and bring about blessings, stabilize blood pressure, increase the internal 'qi' and promote good fortune and bliss. Dzi beads enjoy great popularity around the world, and they are revered sacred charms for protection, worship, health, as well as symbols of wealth.

Place of Origin and Legends

There are many myths and legends that follow the dZi beads:-

Besides being a very rare and precious gemstone, Tibetan Dzi beads are also one of the seven treasures in Tibetan Buddhism. The main places of origin are Western Tibet, Eastern Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh and certain regions in the Himalayas. Dzi have been around for at least 2000 to 3000 years. According to legend, Dzi is actually a “God’s treasure” which has descended to earth and was discovered by the Tibetans. Hence the Tibetans still regard Dzi as the “heavenly stone”.

Stories on the origin of Dzi beads vary from source to source, one account has it that it flowed from a stream in Ngari; another believed that it was the treasure of the Azha Kingdom, Tibet; yet others thought it was one of the gemstones in the treasury of the Tagzig Kingdom. It is also said to be the celestial essence from Manjushri Bodhisattva's previous incarnate (Manjushri Buddha); some believed it was made by the Asura; it is even said to be made from meteorites which had plummeted down to earth. According to another legend, the compassionate Vajravarahi Buddha let Dzi beads descend to Earth to stop the spread of an epidemic because it possessed the power to guard against evil. Although modern technology can replicate the appearance of Dzi beads, it is still unable to reproduce the strong magnetic energy that Dzi possess. Neither can it replace the religious beliefs passed down over the generations. Hence, judging from its unique quality and extensive historical value, Dzi beads are very valuable.

A more recent urban legend doing the rounds on the Internet is that of the 'Nagoya plane crash'. A Taiwanese businessman escaped from a plane crash where there were only two survivors. He claimed that this was due to the 9-Eyed dZi he had recently purchased for his own protection. As a result of this story making the news, dZi stones have become extremely sought after in Taiwan and the surrounding Asian regions of China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Historical Accounts

Dzi stones can often be seen in Tibetan temples adorning the most revered statues (such as the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha Statue) and sacred relics.The earliest record of Dzi in China’s history is during the Tang Dynasty. When Princess Wencheng married Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, the most expensive betrothal gift was a Buddha statue built according to the image of the 12 year old Jowo Sakyamuni. It was brought to Tibet all the way from Chang'an. The Buddha's diadem, cape, decorative strap and robe were splendidly adorned with various pearls, agates, turquoises, corals and hundreds of various Dzi beads, including three Nine-eyed Dzi beads, Triple-eyed Dzi beads, Double-eyed Dzi beads, Tiger-tooth & Longevity Dzi beads amongst others. This Buddha statue is currently placed in Lhasa, Jokhang Monastery. Hence, we can see that Dzi beads have been used as offerings to Buddha; not only are they sacred, but they are also rare and precious.

Dzi Bead is the Tibetans' Most Precious Living Gemstone

The Tibetans regard Dzi bead as the most precious living gemstone and it is the treasure offered to the royal family generations after generations. In Tibet, the ancient pure Dzi beads can be used for mortgage purposes in Banks or the City’s Credit Bureau. Therefore, to the Tibetans, Dzi bead is no different from cash. Because of their small size, they are easy to maintain and carry around, the royalty and the rich will exchange their domesticated animals, land and money for them. It is also not uncommon to see expensive goods being exchanged for Dzi beads. Dzi beads therefore play an important economic role in Tibet.

Dzi bead is an essential ornament in a Tibetan lady’s adulthood and marriage ceremony. The quantity and quality of the Dzi beads can reveal the wealth of the family. Besides that, Dzi beads are also considered to be a precious medical ingredient in many Tibetan medical dictionaries.

Dzi bead is the Tibetan’s most precious amulet. It is believed that devout worship of the Dzi Bead can remove hindrance of karma, receive blessings, prevention against stroke, guard against evil, improve vitality and increase wealth.

Strong Magnetic Energy

Dzi Beads possess nature's cosmic magnetic energy. According to a scientific study, Japanese researchers discovered that Dzi Beads contain 14 elements from Mars.

The hardness of Dzi is 7 to 8.5 on the Moh’s hardness index, slightly below the African diamond, which has an index of 10. Crystal’s magnetic wave is 4 volts whereas Tibetan’s Dzi Bead gives off 13 volts, 3 times more than crystal. The magnetic energy emitted by Dzi Bead is very gentle and is suitable to be placed in contact with any human part of the body. It is also able to regulate blood circulation and reduce illnesses.

Tibetan Dzi beads may be eons-old antiques, yet they remain fashionable. The different patterns are an ideal trendy ornament for the young and are also suitable for all ages.

Medical Benefits for the Wearer 

But most importantly, besides wearing dzi beads for protection purposes, the magnetic energy from the Dzi can regulate the body’s blood and 'qi' circulation, balance the body’s yin yang and five elements, improve the body’s immune system and henceforth, achieve overall improvement in one's health. The effects are similar to acupuncture. It can improve the health of those suffering from heart diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes as well as reduce various symptoms such as poor blood circulation, blocked nose, sprains, insomnia and aching bones. Dzi beads may also be made into medical pills for various  medical benefits.

Quality and Authenticity

Tibetan Dzi beads contain elements of jade and agate, belonging to the nine-eyed cavenous rocks. The colors can generally be categorized into dark and light brown, its patterns are generally milky white lines etched to its inner core. Some Dzi researchers regard the inner color of the Dzi’s string hole as an important criterion for judging the quality of the Dzi. Milky white color is more superior in quality, and thus more precious.

Due to weathering, Dzi Bead's surface appears scaly with cinnabar dots and chippings. As it is passed down and worn by different collectors, and given blessings from monks, it will appear naturally smooth and lustrous from the interior to the exterior. Basically, its authenticity can be determined based on the smoothness, luster, weathering marks on the surface, chippings, curves and the technique of making the string hole of the bead’s opening as well as from the line designs.

Categories of Dzi Beads and Valuation

The designs of Dzi beads include: dotted, lines, squarish, circular, triangular, rhombus, polygonal, seed shape, irregular shapes, animal motifs, abstract motifs and symbol combinations. Different designs represent different meanings and functions. The Dzi's value is very much dependent on the uniqueness of the luster and designs.

Valuations of Dzi Beads are determined by age, scarcity, number of the eyes (odd numbered, rare eight-eyed and twelve-eyed Dzis are relatively more expensive), degree of chippings, cinnabar dots (will grow from inner to the surface with age) and special designs like Buddha’s eye, Heaven-and-Earth Motif, Dorje design, Lotus and Bottle Motif, and unique patterns to determine the price.