Handmade Rosaries

Blog 4

Peach Moonstone

I completed this Rosary for a friend of mine (and also my manicurist), Renee, who I sponsored for her confirmation several years ago.  For years she has always admired my Rosaries and last month “hinted” that in all of this time, I never made one for her.  Of course, this told me immediately what I could give her for Christmas. The Ave Maria beads on this Rosary are made from stunning peach moonstone, which is believed to promote inspiration, love, and deep meditation to those who possess it.  The Pater beads are made from Botsowana Agate, which has always been an intriguing stone to me, with its gentle layers of pink, brown, and gray.  This soft, warm stone invokes feelings of psychological well being and inner security for guiding those in possession of it to overcome depression and fears, allowing God to take complete control of thier lives.  The crucifix and centerpiece are both made of antique bronze, giving this Rosary an “old world” charm.    Renee has a deep appreciation for items of antiquity and she was as thrilled to receive this gift, as I was to present it to her.   I was so touched by the beauty of this piece, I have decided to make another quite similar for myself.  As stated earlier in my blog, no two Rosaries I make are EVER identical; my future one will bear Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of my favorite devotions, as the centerpiece, and some variation on the sizes of beads.  It will take me some time to collect the parts, as financially I cannot buy them in one month’s time.  I hope to have it finished before I move away from Las Vegas so that my parish priest, Fr. John, can bless it.   The materials used to make this Rosary were approximately $80.00.





Agate and Onyx

Finished New Rosary This Morning

Below are some photos of a new Rosary I completed this evening.  It is a bit “shorter” than most of my Rosaries, as it doesn’t have a lot of “embellishment” beads between the decades.  Made with bronze findings, red bronze center, and red bronze Crucifix, this piece was made with the intent of an “antique” or vintage effect.   The Ave beads are 8mm. faceted, dyed agate, and the Pater beads are made from 10mm faceted, grade “A,” black onyx.   Each Pater bead is adorned with bronze, filigree bead caps, which add to its antique finish.   Ideal for man or woman, this Rosary is a perfect fit for one embracing the traditions of a vintage world.  Roughly, this Rosary cost me in the neighborhood of $35.00 to make. 

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Blog 2

Some Additional Pieces

After I decided to sell my house and move to the midwest, I started packing up all of my things and storing them in the garage in boxes so that I want be so “bombarded” when the big day comes.  Included in these packings are my quilting fabrics, patterns, tools, and all of my BEADING SUPPLIES, along with other Rosaries.  Last night, without messing up “too much” of my packing, I managed to pull out my beading cases and found some additional Rosaries I would like to share.  Unexpectedly, I was “bitten” again by the “beading bug” and I started to make another Rosary with some lovely Agate, which was I managed to get at a bargain price.  

Below, is “another” Rosary I made of Sodalite (R-10).  I absolutely love this stone and regardless of the metals that are used with it, the result is stunning.  The 8mm beads are round and faceted, and I used the exact same stones for the Ave Maria and Pater beads.  The Pater beads are adorned with silver base metal castings to set them apart from the Ave Maria beads.  The centerpiece and Crucifix are made from an inexpensive base metal, and I used the chain link the construction method.  This Rosary cost me in the neighborhood of $45 to make.

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Below (R-11), is a Rosary made with dark turquiose Czech glass beads, using the chain link construction method.  The Ave Maria beads are made of Czech glass, and the Pater beads are made from a very lightweight, metal beads with hearts on each side.  The Crucifix and centerpiece are, one I commonly use on less expensive Rosaries, and is made of base metal.  This Rosary cost me $25 to make.

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Below, (R-12) is a Rosary of similar construction as  the one above.  The beads are all made of light green Czeck glass; both Ave Maria and Pater beads are the same, with ornate bead caps surrounding the Pater beads.  Due to the additional beadwork in between each decade, this Rosary hangs a bit longer than the average.  The Crucifix is made of pewter, and the centerpiece is base metal.  This Rosary cost me about $25 to make.

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Below (R-13) is a Rosary I made using dyed Agate.  This is one of my favorite pieces, as the green and purple color combination in the stones give it a truly unique appearance.  These Agate beads are of a higher grade than others I have used and, like with some of my other Rosaries, the Pater and Ave Maria beads are the same, with additional embellishment on the Pater beads.  The Pater beads are surrounded by two “Tierra Cast” jasmine bead caps.  They are not sterling silver, but are nickel, which gives it a richer appearance than base metal.  Each Pater bead is also accompanied by a small, 4mm Black Onyz bead on each side.  The Crucifix and centerpiece are made of a high quality pewter.  This Rosary is worth about $50.00.

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Previous Rosaries Made Over the Years

Since I just started blogging, I want to share some of the Rosaries that I have made in the past.  Not all of them can be shared, as many have been given away.  Each is unique in it’s own way.  Depending on materials used, they all vary according to value.  Those made with genuine gemstones (rhodocrosite, onyx, jade, jasper, agate, etc.,) and sterling silver centers, crucifixes, and findings, can be worth anywhere from $300 to $400, while those made with Czech glass beads, pewter and basemetal parts, were more cost efficent to make at $25 to $30.  I have also made some using Swarovski crystals, but none are shown in this post. 

The Rosary shown below is shorter in length than my typical pieces, and it is constructed by using the “cable” method, meaning that each bead is individually “strung” onto one wire.  For the Ave Maria beads, I used 6mm sodalite cubed stones.   This gemstone makes up into a stunning Rosary, and is one appreciated by both men and women.  The Our Father beads are made of 8mm pewter filigree balls.  The Crucifix and centerpiece (The Immaculate Heart of Mary) is made of pewter.  This Rosary would sell at around $30.


The Rosary in the three photos below is my own Rosary that I carry at all times in my purse.  It is what I use when going to mass and visiting the chapel for quiet vigils.  I designed it intentionally to have an atiquated, or “old world” style.  Unlike the “cable method” of construction, this Rosary was made using “chain links” between each bead.  The Ave Maria beads AND the Our Father beads are BOTH are made of a deep colored indigo Czech glass.  Although the picture doesn’t do it justice, when in the sunlight, these beads are almost a “cornflower” blue.  To give distinction between the Ave and Our Father beads I used bead caps made of oxidized bronze, which is a very inexpensive metal and used by many Rosary makers.  The Crucifix and the center (Miraculous Medal) are also made of oxidized bronze.  It cost me in the neighborhood of $20 - $25 to make this Rosary.  I love it and get many compliments on it!

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The photos below show some of my VERY FIRST Rosaries.  I was still learning and experimenting with different types of beads, findings, and metals.  Most of these are made with various colors of Czech glass for the Ave beads, and some I have used beautiful lampwork beads, with pink roses in the center, as Our Father beads.  The Ave beads are all 8mm, either round or oval, and the Our Father beads are 10mm beads, or another style that complements the totality of the design.

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For many years, I have been making Rosaries.  This interest began quite a while ago when I teaching the 7th grade regligious education class at St. Viator’s.  I discovered a most inspiring website, called The Rosary Workshop, where all Rosaries were handmade by a guild which strives to make “museum inspired,” one of a kind, Rosaries.   After viewing these outsanding pieces of art, I was HOOKED, and became determined to create my own designs with the intent of using rare beads, precious stones, and antiquated findings.  I studied the structure of each Rosary displayed on the website and visited a local bead store in Las Vegas, East West Imports, and the owner taught me how to make a cable style Rosary using Beadalon wire.  I made a “one-of-a kind” Rosary for each of the students in my class, and presented them on the last day of the term.  The students were thrilled, as each had a unique treasure and heirloom.  Since then, I have made Rosaries for special friends, celebrating milestones in their lives.   I even “sold” one to a parent whose daughter was about to be confirmed.  Over the years, my Rosaries have changed in style, according to the materials that are available to me.   A couple of years ago, I began making chain linked Rosaries, which are also very beautiful adding a new dimension to my craft.  

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Above, is a Rosary I made for my dear friend, Alex.  The Pater beads are made of genuine Amazonite, a form of “feldspar” which, according to legend, contains “soothing” properties offering confidence and hope to the person possessing it.  The Ave Maria beads are made from genuine Blue Agate, which is said to “discern truth.”  Its properties assist people with accepting circumstances of life and is said to be a powerful “healer” of emotional distresses.   The centerpiece is a St. Nicholas medal, made of sterling silver.   The Crucifix I chose for this Rosary is called “The Pardon Crucifix.”  One of the Catholic Church’s most cherished devotions, the Pardon Crucifix bears the words, “Father, forgive them,” and “Behold this heart which has so loved man.”  It serves as an instrument of pardon to all who carry it or wear it, offering indulgences to those who are truly sorry for their sins.  It is also made of sterling silver.  This is the MOST SPECIAL of all Rosaries I have ever made, as each of the materials were carefully selected for a very dear friend, who was experiencing some major challenges in her life at that time.  


.© Mary Darby 2016