Persian Donkey Bead, deep bright blue faience. 18x20mm. 5 pcs. B2-626

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Rare vintage Persian faience Donkey beads from a collection originallyt purchased in the 1960s and apparently in new condition.  Each bead is hand made, irregular and will have a few imperfections.   Average 20mm in diameter and18mm hole to hole.  Stringing hole is around 5-6mm.  Package of 5 beads

The Donkey bead is a Faience bead.  Egyptian paste or faience is a mix containing clay, sand, colorant, crushed glass and mineral salts.  These salts come to the surface of the bead as it dries, forming crystals which result in a self-glazing clay-like substance that acts as a glaze when fired at low temperature. Faience was used 5500 years ago in ancient Egypt,  and was often a substitute for lapis lazuli and turquoise. The city of Qom, in Iran, is the only place where traditional faience Donkey beads are still being made. 

These beads were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s.  They are very striking in a group or as a single focal bead.

Donkey beads are named for the tradition of placing a bead around a donkeys neck to ward off evil spirits.  It is still considered a good luck charm.