Tibetan Dzi bead (pronounced Zee) is a bead stone of mysterious origin worn with a necklace and sometimes bracelet. Collectively in almost all Asian cultures, the bead is expected to provide positive spiritual benefit. They are generally prized as protective amulets and sometimes used in traditional Tibetan medicine. The meaning of the word "dZi" translates to "shine, brightness, clearness, splendor". In Traditional Chinese, the bead is called "heaven's bead" or "heaven's pearl".
While the origin surrounding Dzi beads is quite uncertain, it is socially accepted today that they are called "Tibetan beads". They are found primarily in Tibet, but also in neighbouring Bhutan, Ladakh and Sikkim. Shepherds and farmers pick them up in the grasslands or while cultivating fields. Because dZi are found in the earth, Tibetans cannot conceive of them as man-made. One reason the beads may be found near the surface in places such as freshly tilled fields, for example, are believed to be because ancient monks were burned in funeral pyres (wearing the beads), and long after the remains were gone, the beads therefore remained, and were found at later dates. Since knowledge of the bead is derived from oral traditions, few beads have provoked more controversy concerning their source, method of manufacture and even precise definition. In Tibetan culture they are believed to attract protector deities