Welcome to Agarwood (Oud) Centre

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September 21, 2017 4 min read

Agarwood is an aromatic resinous portion of the Aquilaria tree.  It is non-timber, light texture and the wood is diffuse porous.  Agarwood beads are precious, light, soft and absorb liquid, they require the best care to maintain its look and aroma.

There are currently 2 methods of polishing: waxing and sanding.

Photo 1- Wax polished bead and sandpaper polished bead

The wax polishing method is mainly used for Vietnam Agarwood beads, the beads, after being shaped and smoothed, will be slightly waxed to smooth the bead surface. This wax layer is super thin that it will not affect the aroma and will be easily worn off since the first time of usage, especially when the weather is hot and humid. You may feel shocked to see the real colour of your beads. Calm down, it is normal. It is like when you have frizzy hair, got it managed by gel and after being washed, the hair is out of control  again. Wax layer will make the beads 1 to 2  tone darker than the real colour of the bead.

Wax polished beads are sensitive to water and sweat, it is inevitable and very common Water or sweat marks on beads can be blended out by rubbing the beads against the soft cloth for an instant fix. If it is too much damage, clean the beads regularly with a soft cloth and wear it regularly to form the natural glossy layer. The white marks on the beads are sweat marks developed when the beads are worn. 

Sweat marks on worn beads

Photo 2- Sweat marks on worn beads

Abrasive polishing or sanding is commonly seen in Indonesia Agarwood beads, the beads are polished with high grit sanding paper, under high speed , the heat will melt the natural resin from the included phloem and sap in the beads and coat them evenly,  create burning effects that will give the beads a nice glossy look and nice color (See photo 3 and 4). The colour of the beads depends on the resin of the Agarwood bead. Beads polished by this method tend to be less sensitive to water and sweat, however, the polished layer is very fragile to sharp/ abrasive items. Long-term wear can help the issues or you have the beads polished again. For high-quality beads, the scratches may not be visible if the wood itself is dark enough to cover.


Photo 3-  Cut beads from resinous Agarwood bead

The Elegance mala 6 mm- Wild Indonesia

Photo 4- Sandpaper polished resinous beads

The Elegance mala 6 mm- Wild Indonesia

Below is the summary table of the issues that an Agarwood bead users may encounter:



   Damages  and  recovery


Most of the beads should be avoiding being submerged in water for a long time due to its porous characteristic, water will be quickly absorbed in the bead and it also quickly dries up and cracks will appear.


Bead is deformed and damaged permanently.

(Except resin sinking grade and oil injected beads)


Sweat can strip off the wax layer on the bead reveal the natural colour of the bead.

Using soft cloth to re-polish the water spot and even out the colour of the bead and regain its shine.


Using a soft cloth to re-polish and clean up the beads from sweat residues that may clog on the bead and form dirt.


This strong substance dissolves the resin, it will remove natural oil layer formed on the bead.

Bead is damaged permanently, can be fixed by re-polished however, the original resinous layer has been removed so the colour would not be as similar in some cases.


Alcohol-related products


Fragrances in perfume will be absorbed into the beads and affect the natural aroma

Same as above


Long-term damage on aroma of the beads

Oil and oil-based products

Fragrances in lotion/ oil will affect the natural aroma of the beads


Oil residue will be clogged on the bead

Long-term damage on aroma



Need regular cleaning and polishing with soft cloth but as it is absorbed in the bead, there is no way to remove without damages

Sharp items

When the beads are exposed to items that can cause cuts/ abrasions, the surface will be damaged.

Permanent damage, light abrasive marks on top layer can be buffed to remove but due to the softness of the wood, Agarwood beads can be cut deep into the wood part.


Besides, weather does play a significant role that affects on Agarwood bead, dry weather can make the unworn beads crack due to unevenly shrinkage, especially newly made beads. It can be prevented by tightly wrap the beads or store in a glass box with a small cup of water inside to balance the humidity. In high humid weather, the bead might develop moulds, you can store the bead in a zip bag with moisture absorber. Those are just some tips to help you maintain the beautiful look of your precious Agarwood beads. 

In short

  • Do not submerge your beads under water, normal sweating is fine but excessive one. Forget about sinking test if you want to maintain these beads properly. Like it or not, when wood meets water long enough, it will expand and crack will happen sooner or later. This is simply basic science.
  • Do not wear your beads if you applied perfume or lotion on your wrists because agarwood beads will absorb  those substances and changed their properties
  • Store the bead in a zip bag with moisture absorber when not in use
  • Use soft-cloth to polish your beads to obtain the glossy look again

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