AUD $740.00

Ancient Bactrian Agate Eye Bead.


Here's an early classic "Evil Eye" bead, utilizing the natural colour bands of a milky striped agate. The stone has layers of off whites and semi opaque deep umber agate. This bead is an ancient one from Bactria (Afghanistan/Pakistan), but would actually have been processed in the Indus Valley, one of the earliest civilisations situated in what is now Pakistan. (the stones themselves were often mined and traded from what is now India around Cambay, on the coast.)

We're now finding that this culture was a manufacturing and trading centre for stone beads, which were then traded throughout Mesopotamia, Tibet, Central and South East Asia. Down on the alluvial plains of the Mesopotamian city states there were no stones to play with so a trade developed with other lands importing interesting, decorative stone beads. Many of these came through Bactria (Afghanistan) and the Indus Valley.

With an agate like this you cut one way to get stripes or turn the stone round and cut the other way you create concentric circles. These circles are believed to be a powerful deterrent to Evil. (The Evil Eye averts its gaze when it meets a threatening eye or a mirror reflecting even its own eyes.) It is from these "natural" Eyes that the whole tradition has evolved.

The back is flat and white with a rounded edge and a "cabachon" or gently domed brown centre. The overall surface is gently matted with many tiny knocks and scratches.

It's drilled with a hole of about 1 mm, it will take tiger tail for threading and wear, or possibly a silk thread but not a chain or choker. 

This bead is one of a small collection we have been putting together for well over a decade and not newly bought by us.


Age: Circa 2nd Millenium BC.

Size: L 14 mm x W  12 mm x D  6 mm.

Weight:  3 grams.