Donkey Beads are made of faience, at 5,500 years old one of if not the oldest human-made composite substance designed to resemble another. It is a non-clay based ceramic of quartz and sand created in ancient Egypt. The bright blue glaze symbolizes the Nile, the Waters of Heaven and the Home of the Gods. Faience was often a substitute for turquoise and lapis lazuli. The holy city of Qom, Iran is the only place where traditional faience Donkey Beads are still being made.
Hippies are of course famous for bead necklaces, and less so for beaded decoration on every possible item of attire. Donkey beads with their bright blue color and subtle texture were a mainstay of hippy bead necklaces, and less so as decoration, as they come in only two shapes: big and spherical, and big discs, neither of which are suitable for fine decorative work.
- "The donkey bead is a superstitious good luck stone in the East. Translated from "Khar Mohreh" (which means "The Mark of the Donkey"), it was placed around a donkey's neck to drive away evil spirits. Over the years it has served as ornaments in jewelry, for decoration and many other purposes. However, it is still considered to bring the owner "good luck" and "long life," and is now worn also by Christians. The Donkey Bead is made from quartz that is crushed, molded, and glazed with cobalt. The traditional color is blue, with very slight variation. The entire process is done by hand, which accounts for the individuality of each piece." -Modern Catholic Dictionary