Measurements: All measurements are approximate as these hand made beads are all unique in size and slightly different in shape too, although round is the general idea of shape! Large Beads are roughly 30-35mm with an 8mm threading hole.
Quantity per pack: 1
Due to the handmade nature of these beads the glaze may be mottled in colour and crazed, this is not a fault in the bead but a unique feature of this gorgeous vintage bead.
These beads were called Donkey beads and were traditionally placed around the necks of pack animals of nomadic peoples for protection to drive away evil spirits. They are seen as a symbol of good luck in Middle Eastern countries.
These brilliant ceramic beads were made in Qom (Iran), the only place where donkey beads were still being made. These authentic beads are made by traditional artisans in a manner similar to the famed turquoise tiles that are characteristic of many ancient structures in modern Iran. The bright blue glaze symbolizes the Nile, the Waters of Heaven and the Home of the Gods.
The beads were again popular around the 1960s to 1970s when Hippies began wearing them to create a new fashion! Our beads would be from around that time. They also because popular with Christians.
Donkey beads also became part of people's jewellery, although our beads are rather large - they'd need to be a 'statement' in your piece. Imagine using these as a feature on a macrame or woven wall hanging, or on pot hangers, tassels, curtain tassels, keyrings, hanging ornaments - the history alone is enough to make anything you make with these a real talking point with your friends and visitors!
Made from soapstone faience then powder glazed with copper oxide which this gives the stunning cobalt blue hue. These beads are steeped in history. It is extremely rare to find modern versions of these beads. We have not found any like this in our extensive internet searches - only far older ones that are not as round or smooth shaped.
For a fascinating read on Donkey Beads and their history click here
Special Note: These beads are old, but we are not 100% sure of where, when, or how they were made. They are from around 1960-1970s. We have gleaned as much information as we can from the internet, but please, if you know more accurate information do let us know?!