Religious jewellery: the beliefs behind three of the world’s most worn pieces

If you’re not religious, you might think that prayer is something that is just done in a church every Sunday morning. Anybody who has religious beliefs knows that this just isn’t the case. Religion is not restricted to one building or one service a week. For many, their religion and prayer make up a huge part of their daily routine. It often plays a part in what many people wear on a day to day basis. If you’ve always wondered why people wear different types of religious jewellery, here’s a look at three of the most common pieces you might see:

Crucifix 

The crucifix is probably the most common piece of religious jewellery worn around the world by those of the Christian faith. This piece often simply consists of a crucifix on a chain. As you probably remember from your school lessons, the crucifix symbolises the sacrifice Jesus made when he was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Many in the church believe this brought about the redemption of mankind. The crucifix can often differ massively in size, with some people wearing a much more detailed and thicker cross whilst others simply opt for two thin straight lines crossing each other. 

Mala beads

Mala beads are mainly worn by those who follow the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, although they’re also worn by people of other religious faiths and those who don’t follow religion at all. They have recently become increasingly popular with those who practice yoga. They’re used as an aid to help meditation, with the wearer turning the beads one after another whilst repeating a mantra in their head. When worn around the neck, they’re said to help the wearer’s energy and help them contemplate their goals in life. 

Each of the 108 beads that make up a mala are made up from different precious materials. For example, the mala bead bracelets and pendants produced by the company Shivoham are made from the highest quality authentic Rudraksha seeds from Nepal in the Himalayas. These materials are so hard to source, that the store is the only place in Australia that you can come to and physically buy beads made up of these seeds. 

Rosary beads are most commonly worn by followers of the Catholic church. They are similar to mala beads, with the wearer using them to aid prayer or meditation by holding and counting the beads. The build up of the parts of a rosary can be a lot more complicated. For example, a Roman Catholic rosary is often made up of five different sets of beads. Each set consists of one large bead and 10 smaller beads. They also contain a crucifix and a medal. 

Many people design their own set of rosary beads. For example, they can choose from different designs of crucifixes, different medals and different materials of beads. The colour of the cord that holds the beads even has a special meaning. For example, a red cord symbolises action and joy, whereas an orange cord symbolises endurance and strength. 

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