This is truly an exciting event. We received a "new" collection of ancient Tibetan mosaic coral over the weekend straight from the owner's personal collection. These are of spectacular quality and sent all the employees into a frenzy. Personally, I found it necessary to wear the two strands almost all day.
Mosaic Coral has a wonderful history. Coral, being a material that was obtained in the Mediterranean Sea far away from the Himalayas, was so greatly prized by the Tibetans that they attempted to make use of every piece. Mosaic coral is a way of making use of every scrap of this precious material. Beginning with irregular shapes of fine pieces of coral, they filled in the gaps with a wax and pitch mixture called lakh and other coral bits. The result is a beautifully unique composite bead. Most of these were made around the mid 19th century, but some can be much older.
Here are the two full strands draped on a neck. The color isn't total accurate in this picture, but you just had to see the way the two strands laid when worn. Delicious.
Here's a much more accurate example of their pink/salmon color.
And check this out, 3 repaired beads! Repaired ancient beads are very sought after and quite special. I love the repaired beads because it's obvious how special they were to the previous owners. Such care was taken to bind these pieces back together, whether it was with wire or strips of metal or with lakh.
The Mosaic coral ranges in price from $2.80-$9.00 per gram ($9 per gram is what is shown in these pictures). Sold by the single bead or build your own strand!