Join Date: May 2006
It most certainly makes no sense at all to somebody from a Western culture to use pastes, or glass with real gold.
However, with Balinese people, including Balinese royalty, and to a lesser extent with Javanese people, the objective of decoration on a keris, or anywhere else, is effect, not intrinsic value.
Thus, we find Balinese royal keris with a mix of diamonds (a protection against poison), coloured gemstones, and glass or pastes. The objective can be pure decorative effect, or it can talismanic effect, it is never to have only natural, high value stones. For example, on a typical Balinese keris we would be looking for a combination of white, red, black stones/pastes/glass, these colours being representative of Siwa, Brahma, Wisnu.
I do not know the requirements for Sulawesi or other places, but my guess would be that a similar approach to ornamentation would apply.