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  Shell and Trinkets

Hole in the middle 100 to 250 year old Chinese coins (kepeng), with Chinese characters on one side ('Year of the Corn') and Pali script on the other, are ideal for setting, hanging, or for casting I Ching.

In Dutch times, about 700 kepeng could buy one Dutch guilder. Since traders purchased them at 1,400per Dutch guilder in China, a 100% profit was realized.

Since the 17th century, export of coins was so great a drain on Chinese coinage that the Chinese government attempted in vain to stop their export. Literally thousands of bags of these crude bronze or lead coins were shipped from China to Bali, recounted, then put on strings 200 at a time to be used as an island-wide currency.

Puka shells are small, round, white shells found along the shores of Pacific Basin countries. Look for necklaces with all shells the same size. You can get cheaper puka necklace at the surfers' hangout, Uluwatu's souvenir warung, than on Kuta.

Turtle Island (Serangan) sells perhaps Bali's most gorgeous seashells. Akar bahar bracelets are in the shape of a serpent. Shape them further with heat, then tie with wire. Or shape them while still wet, then dry in the sun.

Polish with ash until smooth and shiny. Some say they have a therapeutic effect, giving relief from rheumatism and arthritis. These seaweed bracelets (actually a sea-tree) grow on your wrist from the heat and perspiration; it lives.

The bone-and-ivory carving center is in the kampung of Manukaya near Tampaksiring on the main road between Denpasar and Kintamani. But don't believe the vendors if they claim their work is ivory.

It's a 98% chance it is bleached, hourglass-shaped, cow thighbone. Ivory, which is imported from Flores, does not have the flat white color of these wares; look for the rhombus effect on real ivory.

Prices for bone carvings depends upon their size and intricacy. Ivory and deer horn carving can also be purchased.

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