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Javanese Palangi Bead

Palangi means "rainbow." This bead is recently manufactured and measures about 3cm diameter. I paid less than $2 USD for this item, but these are often distressed and sold in the west for hundreds of dollars. Contrary to what you might believe, those beads with the pitted surface are usually faked. Truly old beads usually have a smooth surface. If there is white powder visible inside the hole, it is recently manufactured. However, crafty counterfeiters will usually rasp away the interior of the hole to create the appearance of age.
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  • Dear Edith,

    I have studied and documented the contemporary Javanese glass industry since their products first appeared in the US marketplace in the late 1980s.  I have seen imitations and reproductions of ancient beads evolve from clumsy and obvious to  products that are both technically-similar and reasonably realistic-looking to the prototypes.  It is necessary to understand glassworking techniques to separate the inaccurate beads from the authentic; and subtle differences in designs and colors to distinguish between well-made fakes and original beads.  Your bead is an obvious imitation.  But, since 2000, much more carefully-made reproductions have become commonplace,

    The links below will take you to two long expositions that resulted from my trip to Bali and Java in 2008.  I returned in 2010 to follow-up this fieldwork.  I also discussed this topic in my papers for the Istanbul Bead Conference in 2007; and the Borneo Bead Conference in 2010. 

    Be well.  Jamey D. Allen



  • Many thanks, Jamey for your links and comments! Yes, this bead was sold to me as a modern bead. But I am happy to support modern craftsmen as long as they are selling their work as new. I paid very little for it.

    There are very few original antique palangi beads left in the market place here (as I am sure you already know). You may want to check out my other post with the antique Indo-pacific beads. Those were identified as antique by someone I trust.

    Let me know if you are in the region again....we have an active jewelry group at the Indonesia Heritage Society!

  • By the way, the prayer beads you posted on other site...you will find a necklace of same type of beads in Supit’s book “Kiswahili Perhiasan Nusantara”, page 170-171.

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