Beth's Prayer Beads
Brass and Green Quartz
From ancient to modern times, in Christianity and other world religions, beads have been employed to assist the faithful in prayer. The word ‘bead’ derives from the Old English word ‘ebed’, originally meaning to pray or request, and was used to describe groups of beads which were loosely strung together. During the medieval period these strings of beads were used by Christians as mnemonic aids to physically count their prayers. Initially, this was attributed to the Pater Noster (Lord’s Prayer), later the Hail Mary and then the rosary as we know it today. As well as being devotional tools these objects were probably the most common item of jewellery across all classes, and this made them an everyday object frequently accessed by religious orders and the laity.
These beads pictured here are some examples of one kind bead pieces like those I will be offering for sale soon. Some of the items pictured I made as gifts for friends or for myself so they are here only to show examples of what I enjoy making. I do not wish to make the same beaded pieces over and over. I do production jewelry for The Rams Horn Studio so you see this new endeavor is something I hope allows me to enjoy designing and using different materials as the spirit moves me. What I want to do is be creative and go where my imagination takes me. Much of my work reflects my love of nature and spirituality. Many of the pendants and findings I use are antiques or items I cannot get any more and that makes it impossible for me to offer multiples of the same design even if I want to.
I love working with the colors and shapes and trying to create a certain mood with each piece. All of my work will be one of a kind and there will be no exceptions. I am most interested in the beads known as paternoster beads. The first prayer medieval Christians recited on prayer beads was the “Our Father” (in Latin, Pater noster...) For those who could not read, reciting 150 paternosters was regarded as equivalent to reciting the 150 Psalms. The beads used for counting were called paternoster beads: usually a string of 10, 50 or 150 beads, with or without dividing markers.
Watch a video about gemstone prayer beads and spiritual jewelry.
Bronze Chatelaine Belt Hook and Amethyst Prayer Beads
Amethyst Prayer Beads with Bronze Celtic Cross
Pewter and Green Jasper
Brass and Smokey Quartz
One of the common forms of medieval prayer beads or paternoster is a string of just one decade. A Decade is ten beads. The Germans call this a "Zehner" which literally means "Tenner." The beads are usually rather large, giving the owner an opportunity to show off a few extra large beads, such as red coral. This set I created has large Smokey Quartz beads
Green Quartz and brass prayer beads
Garnet Prayer Beads with bronze Celtic Cross and Crystal Skull bead
Sterling Silver and Green Quartz Agate Prayer Beads
About Common Prayer Bead Forms
Usually 33 beads, representing the number of years Jesus is believed to have lived on Earth, with a pendant cross. There are four "weeks" (sets of seven beads) divided by cruciform beads.
Called "mala" beads, typically 108 of them, representing the number of earthly desires a disciple must conquer, and used for repeating a mantra. The beads above are used by Tibetan Buddhists in healing rituals.
The rosary consists of five decades (sets of 10 beads). The Hail Mary is repeated on each bead in the decade and an Our Father is said on each separating bead. Also includes a crucifix and a medallion of the Virgin Mary.
Usually 108 beads with a marker, used to repeat a mantra or to recite names of God or the elements of the universe.
"Subha" beads, usually 33 or 99, used to recite the 99 names of Allah.
Twelve Step Prayer Beads:
Prayer beads made for people in Twelve Step recovery groups for the practice of Step Eleven. An offshoot of many styles of prayer beads, identifiable by Twelve beads in a ring and a pendent or tassel.
a string of beads for fiddling with, as a means of relieving mental tension and calming the nerves
Banded Black Agate and Sterling Silver
A Celtic Prayer
DHE STIUIR MI
Dhe stiuir mi le d' ghliocas
Dhe smachd mi le d' cheartas,
Dhe foir mi le d' throcair,
Dhe comh'n mi le d' chumhachd.
Dhe lion mi le da lanachd,
Dhe dion mi le d' sgaileachd,
Dhe lion mi le d' ghrasachd,
Air sgath do Mhic Unga.
Iosa Criosda a shiol Dhaibhidh,
Fear-tathaich an teampuill,
Uan-iobairt a gharaidh,
A bhasaich air mo shon.
God guide me
God guide me with Thy wisdom
God chastise me with Thy justice,
God help me with Thy mercy,
God protect me with Thy strength.
God fill me with Thy fullness,
God shield me with Thy shade,
God fill me with Thy grace,
For the sake of Thine Anointed Son.
Jesu Christ of the seed of David,
Visiting One of the Temple,
Sacrificial Lamb of the Garden,
Who died for me.
Orange Agate and Sterling
Links & Resources
A String and a Prayer: How to Make and Use Prayer Beads
by Eleanor Wiley
Bead One, Pray Too: A Guide to Making and Using Prayer…
by Kimberly Winston
Praying by Hand: Rediscovering the Rosary As a Way of…
by M. Basil Pennington
Simply Pray: Modern Spritual Practice to Deepen Your Life
by Erik Walker Wikstrom
Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for…
by Chester P. Michael
Hail Mary and Rhythmic Breathing: A New Way of Praying the…
by Richard Galentino
The Rosary with Fra Angelico and Giotto
by Domenico Marcucci
The Practice of Japa
A Circle of Stones: Journeys and Meditations for Modern…
by Erynn Rowan Laurie
Mary's Beads of Transformation
by Patricia M. McCormack
The Anglican Rosary
by Lynn C. Bauman
Beads of faith : pathways to meditation and spirituality… by Gray Henry
Through the Rosary With Fra Angelico
by Domenico Marcucci
A Ladder from Earth to Heaven
The Anglican Rosary: What it is. How to pray it. Why you…
My Treasury of Chaplets
by Patricia S. Quintiliani
Bedes Bydding: Medieval Rosaries & Paternoster Beads
by Chris Laning
Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages
by Anne Winston-Allen
Medieval European Jewellery
by Ronald Lightbown
Praying With Sacred Beads
by Joan Hutson
Praying With Beads: Daily Prayers for the Christian Year
by Nan Doerr & Virginia Stem Owens
Beads of Faith: Pathways to Meditation and Spirituality Using Rosaries, Prayer Beads, and Sacred Words
by Gray Henry, Susannah Marriott
The Jesus Prayer Rosary: Bible Meditations for Praying With Beads
by Michael Cleary
Bead One, Pray Too: A Guide to Making and Using Prayer Beads
by Kimberly Winston
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