Much consideration goes into choosing the shapes and finishes that are cut from rough materials, usually to highlight the best natural aspects of the rough stone from which the beads are cut. Nearly all rough material is beautiful in its own way, but few are as beautiful as the finished beads, cabochons and pendants produced by expert human hands.
But not all bead creation relies on human hands.
The beads that are gathered from the Gobi Desert have been produced by natural forces -- winds that blow the stones across the dunes, and the sands that carve and shape them over the course of centuries. The stones -- forms of agate and chalcedony -- are selected when they become bead-like and assembled into strands. These agates have a range of colors, but the stones that appear to be purple or blue are the rarest form of chalcedony.
It has been very difficult over the years to buy Gobi Desert Beads, for several reasons. They are rare, highly valued, and the market is always strong in Mongolia, so few make it beyond the outskirts of the desert. When Dakota Stones can get them, as we did on our recent visit to China, we snap them up and bring them back.
The Gobi Desert Beads we're now offering are available at two price points -- some have been tumbled into familiar, oval shapes, and some are still fairly rough, perhaps needing a few more decades in the blowing sands to become perfectly round. We offer them in the finished strands, just as we purchased them. All are very rare, however, and available only as long as they last.