Opalized Palmwood, Vintage, Elongated Barrels, Largest 36x12mm, Strand of 10

Regular price $30.00

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  • Vintage opalized (similar to fossilized) palmwood beads
  • Short strand of 10 beads ranging from 23x9mm to 36x12mm
  • They are the base material used to make the famous patterned Pumtek beads, which are related to the even more famous dZi beads.
  • The original Pumteks were made by the Pyu people of Burma who flourished during the third to ninth centuries. The beads were treasured as heirloom beads by the Kuki in Mizoram, India and the Chin in neighboring Burma. They sprang onto the western bead market in the 1980s and are now both very rare and expensive.
  • According to Oppi Untracht, newer Pumteks were being made in Payagyi, Myanmar in the 1990s  and I expect these "unetched Pumteks" come from there.
  • Harry Neufeld, from whom these were sourced, reports "These were collected and presented as such [unetched Pumtek] from the same Mizoram people responsible for original Pumtek and Mizo carnelian beads, pangolin claw necklaces, textiles and other items that were available at the same time as original Naga materials in the early to mid-1980’s."
  • For designers, these work well with vintage and antique shell beads, wood, amber, and other organics, as well as brass, vintage silver, and some matte finish gemstones.