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August 28, 2018 3 min read

The Reason Not to Submerge Agarwood Beads Under Water

Two Main Reasons:

  1. It may crack your beads
  2. It loses the shiny reflective appearance

Read on to find out more.

Testing Sinking Agarwood Beads?

Everyone loves sinking agarwood beads, and the darker, the better, right? Who does not? It is very tempting to submerge your bracelet or 108 mala agarwood beads underwater to test their "sinking" quality. However, are you aware that doing so incorrectly will damage your beads?

What to Test?

Let us go back to the basics; what are the real reasons for buying these beads? Most people collect them; some wear them to attract luck; others use them for Feng Shui purposes.

People usually examine agarwood beads by their scent and appearance. To truly appreciate the oud scent, it is better to heat oud chips or apply oud oil on your arms, wrists, behind your ears, or on your clothes. Although agarwood beads do contain some oud scent, it is only as good as oud chips at room temperature.

Appearance: The darker, the heavier, the better. If they were solid black, the chances of counterfeit would be high. However, let us quickly discuss how these beads are made.

The Material

Agarwood beads are generally spherical, made from agarwood cubes (or rectangular prisms) like the one below. Agarwood beads contain more resin than others. It is challenging to only "cube" out the most resinous parts.

Should You Test Your Agarwood Beads Underwater to Determine if They Are Sinking Quality?

Yes, you can, but you need to know how to do it properly. Here are the steps (try it at your own risk):

  1. Get a soft cloth or towel ready.
  2. Get a jug of water, preferably a tall glass.
  3. Drop your beads into the glass.
  4. Watch if they sink slowly or fast. Within 30 seconds, the shorter, the better.
  5. Take the mala or bracelet out of the jug and dry it immediately with your soft cloth. You will notice a beautiful smell from the agarwood beads, very noticeable. This works with wood chips too; they smell better right after being submerged underwater.
  6. Let them dry but keep polishing these beads gently with your soft cloth. Watch out for cracks, as water will expand the wood and eventually crack the beads.

Why So Much Hassle? Is There a Safer Way to Test?

Yes, unfortunately, it is not in your hands but in the hunters'. It comes down to trust. Testing the material, agarwood logs, is safer than testing the beads. If the agarwood logs sink, chances are the beads will sink. It does not matter if the agarwood logs crack, as it will be fixed during the bead-making process.

What Happens When Agarwood Beads Are Submerged in Water for Too Long?

Please see below; this is an expensive experience. Please do not try it at home. After 3 minutes of submerging, the agarwood beads expanded unevenly, causing cracks; the shiny reflection is lost, and wood warping occurred, deforming the beads.

grandawood agarwood beads raw images

How to Fix Cracking Beads?

We cannot; it is what it is. It happened as a consequence of long submerging underwater. They cracked, so we decided to break the beads open to show you what it looks like inside a half bead. You can see the resin and resin ducts.

What to Do About Agarwood Beads That Lose Their Shiny Reflection?

These beads will be polished again with a bead-making machine to restore the look. This practice is usual and known as polishing. It can be done with a cotton cloth or sandpaper.

So in short, please do not try to submerge your agarwood beads underwater without proper preparation, as it can seriously damage or ruin your beads.


Taking care of your agarwood beads is essential to preserve their beauty and scent. While testing their sinking quality can be tempting, doing so improperly can cause significant damage. Always handle your beads with care and consider safer testing methods to ensure their longevity.

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