The history of mysterious dZi
Let’s start with the pronunciation. Dzi is said as though the ‘d’ is silent – “zee” but was more traditionally known as gZi in years gone by. The word dZi has a few meanings in different countries, it is known as Heaven’s Pearl in China and interprets loosely as shine, clearness, brightness or splendor in Tibetan.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding dZi agate and beads which have been found from as early as 2500 BC. This mysterious agate is steeped in history, with many religions and belief systems turning to the powers and energies of the stone for assistance in medicine as well as holistically. They were often ground up and used for healing or alternately small bits were chipped from them.
As agate is naturally a hard stone which would chip quite easily, the stone would have to be heated (in a vacuum) before it could be carved and even then, this may not always work. The aforementioned process has only been deemed possible in recent years, so how did they make them thousands of years ago? This remains mostly a mystery to this day. There are scientific speculations including treatments which would darken areas of the stone using heat, or bleaching patterns into the stone – but nobody fully knows for sure the exact techniques which were used for etching or carving the beads.
Where is dZi found?
These beads have been found in Tibet, India, Nepal and other areas in Central Asia and are always made from dZi agate or sometimes carnelian. They are mainly used in necklaces and bracelets and were worn by chiefs of the Bön religion in Tibet who were often cremated wearing them. There have been beads found with scorching or burns and also fractures from being in the flames; these are worth quite a lot of money due to their historical importance.
There is a really interesting take on how these intricately designed beads were made, or should we say formed. Tibetans believed dZi beads to be insects that have become petrified and were left as gifts to people with good karma. The dZi beads are said to bring the owner/wearer good fortune, health and luck, as well as being a very protective thing to wear every day.
What does dZi agate look like?
The main shapes you will see for dZi beads will be tubular/cylindrical, oblong or round and they will be brown, black or red in color – made from banded agate or carnelian. There are many variations in the patterns found on dZi agate beads.
Many believe these stones to have supernatural origins due to their unique and somewhat meaningful designs. There are interpretations available for these patterns – dots, eyes, bands and shapes, which give you an insight into how they have been used in the past and currently by keen collectors.
What are the healing properties of dZi agate beads?
As mentioned above, dZi beads are predominantly used for protection but the various markings on the beads can give them different properties. Some will specifically protect the user from accidents, some could attract love into your life and others can bring a comfortable life for the wearer. There is a very in depth list of the dZi patterns as well as their interpretations.
To truly connect with dZi and benefit from the healing and intrinsic effects, you must cleanse them fairly regularly. They are quite receptive to their surroundings and can absorb negative energies which need to be cleansed away – this can be achieved by simply holding the beads under running water or using sage to smudge them. The best way to bond with your dZi agate beads is to wear jewelry which will be on your person for long periods of time.
Modern day dZi
There are many collectors of dZi agate beads around the world and they are still a sought after item in Tibet and other areas of Central Asia. New beads which have been made in the same vein as the ancient dZi are very popular and often feature in mala bracelets and necklaces.
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A LIST OF TYPES/DESIGNS FOUND ON DZI BEADS:
- Banded and striped dZi
- Bat dZi
- Bodhi dZi
- Da Ren
- Dragon eyes
- Dragon skin
- Eagle’s mouth
- Earth Sky
- Fire Burial
- Garuda Healing
- Heaven & Earth
- Kwan Yin
- Mountain, Peak or Hill
- Nectar Bottle
- Tiger Tooth
- Turtle Back